For U.S. companies that have international offices, or foreign companies that have U.S. offices, the L-1 visa is an option that allows them to bring high-level foreign employees to this country to work for the American office of a multinational company. There are two sub-categories for the L-1 visa: the L-1A for workers employed in an executive or managerial role, and the L-1B for workers who possess specialized knowledge of the company and its services and products. Both the U.S. company and the foreign worker must meet certain requirements in order to qualify. To explore whether this option could work for your Wisconsin business, you should consider consulting dedicated immigration lawyer Spiro Nicolet. At Nicolet Lawyers, we are familiar with the nuances of the complex L-1B process.Requirements for Pursuing an L-1B Visa
For a foreign company to qualify to send an employee to a U.S. office, the two companies must have one of the following business relationships: parent/subsidiary, branch, or affiliate. This relationship must exist at the time of filing the immigration petition and continue for the duration of the individual’s employment.
A parent/subsidiary relationship requires one of the companies to own at least 50% of the stock of the other company. A branch relationship requires one company to operate an office of the same corporate organization in a different geographical location. An affiliate relationship requires the same people to own the same or similar percentage of shares in two or more companies.
For the employee to qualify for the L-1B visa, the worker must have been employed by the foreign company for at least one continuous year within the past three years immediately preceding the filing of the immigration petition. During this time, the employee must have been utilizing “specialized knowledge.”
In order to determine whether an employee has specialized knowledge, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) compares the worker’s duties to the definition of specialized knowledge found in immigration law. This means special knowledge, possessed by an individual, of the petitioning organization's products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and their application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization's processes and procedures.
L-1B workers can reside in the U.S. for a maximum period of five years, which also includes any time the individual spends in H-1B status. Their spouses and children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 can obtain L-2 dependent visas, and L-2 dependent spouses can obtain work authorization.Consult a Wisconsin Lawyer to Discuss Your Immigration Concerns
It is becoming increasingly difficult to prove to USCIS that a prospective L-1B worker has specialized knowledge. However, working with a skilled immigration attorney at Nicolet Lawyers can enhance a Wisconsin company’s chances for securing approval. Preparing a successful L-1B petition requires sophisticated knowledge of the prevailing regulations, guidance, and immigration laws. By consulting Spiro Nicolet, businesses can rest assured that their applications will receive the attention and care that they deserve. Call our office today at 773-562-6884, or set up a free consultation through our online form.