L-1B Visa Overview

What is the L-1B Visa?

The L-1B Visa is an intracompany transferee classification for employees with qualified specialized knowledge. It provides the employee with a visa to work in a U.S. company affiliated with the foreign company in the employee’s area of expertise.

Who can petition for the L-1B Visa?

The parent, affiliate, subsidiary or branch of the foreign company can petition for the employee. The employee must have been employed at said company for one year in the preceding three (3) years and must have held a position which included the specialized work.

Are there educational requirements for the L-1B Visa?

There are no educational requirements for an employee under the L-1B. However, it must be shown that the employee has the specialized knowledge in the specific area. This can be shown in numerous ways, including, but not limited to, prior work experience, training, position, education, etc. A formal education is not required.

What is the difference between the L-1A Visa and the L-1B Visa?

The L-1 visa has two subcategories: L-1A for executives and managers, and L-1B for workers with specialized knowledge. L-1A status is valid for up to seven (7) years, L-1B for five (5) years. After the expiration of the 7 or 5 years respectively, the employee can generally only qualify for L-1 status again by working abroad for at least one year for the parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch of the foreign (petitioning) company.

Can I change my status from L-1B Visa to L-1A Visa?

The foreign company may file to change the status of an employee under the L-1B Visa in order for the individual to move into a managerial or executive position. However, in order for the employee to receive the benefit of the full seven (7) years under the L-1A Visa, the petition to change status must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) six (6) months prior to the employee reaching the five (5) year period under the L-1B Visa.

What is the difference between the Blanket L-1B and the Individual L-1B Visa?

An L-1B Blanket Visa is issued to the foreign company and not the specific employee. After that company has obtained Blanket L visa petition approval, individuals apply for L visa stamps at a U.S. Consulate abroad by presenting a signed I-129S petition and proof of qualifying employment. With a blanket visa it is not necessary to get USCIS approval for a particular individual, although the individual remains subject to immigration background checks. This also does not mean that every individual will be approved for the L-1 Visa.

For an L-1B individual visa, the approval is specific to the employee. The application for intracompany transfer is filed with USCIS along with the employee’s documents. Upon approval of the visa, the employee may apply for an L-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.