L-1B Visa for Professional Employees


L-1B Visa for Intra-company Transferees with Specialized Knowledge

The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization's interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.

Specific Eligibility Requirements for the L-1B Employer and USCIS Requirements

For an L-1B visa application, the petitioning employer must:

  • have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company, such as a parent company, employee leasing company, branch office, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. A qualifying business entity or qualifying organization may be a corporations, non-profits, religious or charitable organizations. For more information on qualifying entities, please read our section describing them each in more detail here. [LINK TO L-1 VISA QUALIFYING ORGS]

  • be conducting business in the United States and in at least one other country. This can be done directly or through a qualifying organization, and it must be in business for the duration of the L-1 visa beneficiary's stay in the U.S.

  • function as a business such that there is a provision of goods and/or services in a regular, systematic, and continuous manner.

  • not only have a mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad to try to comply with the USCIS requirements

Specific Eligibility Requirements for the L-1B Employee



To qualify for an L-1B visa, the employee must seek entry to the United States to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

In addition, an L-1B beneficiary employee must:

  • have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year within the three years immediately preceding admission to the United States. Time spent working in the U.S. does not count.
  • Seek entry into the United States to render services stemming from specialized knowledge
  • be more than simply skilled or familiar with the employer's interests, and specialized knowledge must be more than commonplace or generally known or obtained information.

Following the L-1 Reform Act of 2004, an L-1B nonimmigrant will be in violation of status if they are "stationed primarily" at the worksite of an employer other than the petitioner, and if they will be:

  • principally under the control and supervision of the unaffiliated employer,
  • Essentially providing "labor for hire for the unaffiliated employer," rather than providing a product or service for which specialized knowledge specific to the petitioning employer is necessary.

How long can I stay in the U.S. with an L-1B visa?

Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. For all L-1B employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of five years.

Comments are closed.