L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge


The L-1B visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer professional employees with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. It also allows a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to establish an office in the United States.

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission under the L-2 nonimmigrant classification. L-2 spouses (not children) may also apply for work authorization which is not limited to the sponsoring L-1 company.

Eligibility Criteria

To be classified as an L-1B employer, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company (parent, branch, subsidiary, etc.); and
  • Currently be doing or will be doing business in the United States and at least one other country via the qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the U.S. as an L-1B holder.

To be classified as an L-1B specialized knowledge employee, the employee must:

  • Have been working abroad for the qualifying organization for at least one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding admission to the United States; and
  • Seek to enter the U.S. to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity for the employer abroad or a qualifying affiliated organization
    • Specialized knowledge includes special knowledge of the organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or an advanced level of knowledge about the organization’s processes and procedures

To be classified as an L-1B specialized knowledge employee establishing a new office:

  • Employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new offices; and
  • Employer has financial ability to compensate the employee and begin doing business in the United States

Length of Stay

The maximum initial stay on an L-1 visa is three years, except for those establishing a new office, who are granted one year. Extensions may be requested but cannot exceed a period of five years.

What We Do

  • Prepare thorough L-1B Petition with evidence required
  • Review applications to identify potential concerns that may affect the outcome of the application
  • Provide guidance in maintaining the L-1B status
  • Provide assistance to L-1B holders within the United States that wish to extend their visa, apply for a Change of Status or Adjustment of Status

Additional Details

Certain organizations may establish the required intracompany relationships in advance of filing individual L-1 petitions. This is known as a blanket petition. This petition provides the employer with the flexibility to transfer eligible employees on short notice without having to file individual petitions to USCIS, though L-1A classification is not guaranteed despite the approval of a blanket L Petition.

Eligibility for blanket L certification may be established if:

  • The petitioner and each of the qualifying organizations are engaged in commercial trade or services;
  • The petitioner has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more;
  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
  • The petitioner along with the other qualifying organizations meet one of the following criteria:
    • Have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period;  
    • Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
    • Have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.

Canadians with approved blanket petitions seeking to enter the United States as L-1B employees of qualifying organizations may be eligible to apply for admission in L-1B status at certain Ports of Entry under NAFTA.

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