In this blog we will explain the process of the L-1B visa for the United States and everything necessary for its processing.
If you wish to apply for this visa, do not hesitate to contact our immigration lawyers in New Jersey at Curbelo Law. Our team has more than 10 years of experience helping organizations process this visa.
The Process To Follow For The L-1B Visa In The USA In 2023
Generally, the L-1B visa process consists of the following steps:
- A U.S. employer files with USCIS Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker on behalf of the foreign beneficiary.
- Once USCIS approves Form I-129, the US employer must print the receipt number on the form.
- Foreign employee must complete Form DS-160 online.
- The foreign employee must schedule an appointment with the US embassy or consulate in their home country.
- The foreigner must attend the appointment and bring all the documents required for the L-1B visa.
Application For General Petitions
Some companies can file a general petition for L-1B visas. To do this, the employer must send their employee Form I-129S, Application for a Nonimmigrant Visa Based on a General L Petition.
In addition to this form, the employer must send you the general petition approval notice and other required evidence. Once the employee has them, they can submit them to a US consular officer in connection with the L-1B application.
What Is The L-1B Visa In The USA?
The L-1B visa allows US employers to transfer a professional with specialized knowledge from one of their affiliated offices abroad to one of their US offices.
This visa also allows a foreign company that does not already have an affiliated office in the United States to send an employee with specialized knowledge to the country to establish an office.
If you want to know what the types of US visas, on our blog you can find an article focused on explaining each of these visas.
Benefits Of The L-1B Visa
- The visa holder can legally travel and work in the United States.
- The visa holder may be eligible for a Green Card. This is because the L-1B visa is dual intent.
- Allows a foreign company to establish a branch in the US.
- Dependents of the L-1B visa holder may accompany them to the US.
Successfully completing the L-1B visa process brings with it multiple benefits, such as qualifying for permanent residence. If they become a resident, the alien may eventually become eligible for US citizenship.
What Are The Requirements For The L-1B Visa?
The eligibility criteria for this visa are very similar to the requirements for the L-1A visa . These criteria are:
- Have an eligible relationship with a foreign company, whether it is a head office, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate that are collectively known as eligible organizations.
- You will do or are doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country. This may be directly or through an eligible company during the beneficiary’s stay on the L-1B visa.
Although the employer’s business in the US must be viable, it is not required to be involved in international trade.
If the employer wants to send an employee with specialized knowledge to the US for the purpose of the employee being in a newly established office, the employer must show that you:
- Have secured enough physical space to accommodate your new office.
- Have the financial capacity to open new offices and start doing business in the US.
- You have worked for an eligible company abroad for one continuous year and within the three years prior to your admission to the US.
- Your intention to enter the US is to provide services in an expert capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its eligible companies.
Requirements For General Petitions
Eligibility for an L-1B blanket petition is established if the:
- Petitioner and each of the qualifying businesses are engaged in trade or business services.
- Employer has an office in the US that has been doing business for a year or more.
- Employer has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, affiliates, and subsidiaries.
- Petitioner and the other qualifying businesses collectively meet one of the following criteria:
- Have obtained at least 10 L-1B visa approvals during the previous 12-month period.
- They have a US workforce of at least 1,000 employees.
- They have subsidiaries or affiliates in the US with combined annual sales of at least $25 million.
Like the general L-1A visa petitions, these do not guarantee that an employee will be granted L-1B classification. However, it does provide the employer with the flexibility to transfer eligible workers to the US without notice.
Terminology Of The L-1B Visa Process
- Doing business: Means the systematic, continuous or regular supply of goods and/or services from an eligible company. This does not include the presence of an eligible company agent or office in the US and abroad.
- Specialized knowledge: Means that the employee has the appropriate specialized knowledge of the product, services, techniques, management, research and other interests in the application for the international market, or
- They are experts in the processes and procedures of the eligible company.
Are you an undocumented alien wondering if you can get a job in the US illegally? We invite you to go through our respective article to know the answer.
L-1B Visa Reform Act Of 2004
This law applies to all petitions that have been filed on or after June 6, 2005.
This law is directed at petitions filed on behalf of L-1B employees who are located at the place of employment of an employer other than the petitioning employer or its subsidiaries, affiliates, or head office.
For an employee to qualify for the L-1B visa under these situations, the petitioning employer must show that:
- The employee will not be controlled or supervised by an unaffiliated employer.
- The work to be performed by the employee is not considered work for hire by the unaffiliated employer.
What Documents Are Needed To Apply For The L-1B Visa?
The necessary documents required for the L-1B visa process are the following:
Documents Of The Requesting Company
- Letters of support from the employer.
- Name and title of the individual signing the petition.
- Catalogs, brochures or annual reports of the companies with descriptions and addresses.
- Number of employees of parent and affiliated companies.
- Documentation on the incorporation of the foreign company and the affiliated US company. This can be business registration as a partnership, corporation, limited company, etc.
- Salaries and benefits offered.
- Title of the alien, detailed description about the position with the qualifications or special knowledge necessary for that position.
- Financial statements of foreign companies and US affiliates.
Documents Of The Foreign Employee
- Copy of your foreign passport valid for an additional 6 months.
- A photograph that meets the photo requirements.
- Receipts that you have paid all the fees for the L-1B visa.
- Salary statements and tax returns of the foreign beneficiary showing at least one year of employment, within the last 3 years. Such employment must be with the affiliated foreign company.
- Diplomas, certificates and official notes from abroad.
- Curriculum vitae and work history abroad.
- Copy of US visa and Form I-94, arrival/departure record and your dependents (if they are in the US)
- Appointment letter for the L-1B visa interview.
- Letters from previous employers and contact information for your supervisors.
- Photographs of the interior and exterior of your place of employment.
- Contact information for two co-workers from your current and previous job titles.
- Letter from the employer confirming your transfer and your job description.
If it is an individual petition, form I-129, a copy of it and Form I-797 must be submitted. For general petitions, form I-129S, two copies of it and the I-797 must be submitted.
What Types Of Questions Will There Be At The L-1B Visa Interview?
An official conducting the interview will ask the alien a few questions regarding:
- Your workplace.
- Your specialized knowledge.
- Why your knowledge is so important to the company that sponsors you.
It is important to answer the questions fully and in detail to avoid any incomplete information.
What Are The Application Costs For The L-1B Visa?
When applying for the L-1B visa, the US employer will have to pay several fees, which include:
- L-1B visa filing fee: $460.
- Fraud Detection and Prevention Fee: $500.
- US Workforce Competitiveness and Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee for employers with 25 or fewer full-time employees: $750.
- Public law rate for US employers with 50 or more employees where more than 50% of them have the L-1 visa: $4,500.
- Premium processing fee (optional): $2,500.
How Long Is The L-1B Visa Valid For?
The L-1B visa period of stay is one year for purposes of establishing a new office in the US Other L-1B visa employees will have a maximum of 3 years stay in the US.
Employees with L-1B visas can extend their stay in two-year increments until the employee has reached a maximum of 5 years in the country.
What Is The Processing Time For The L-1B Visa?
The L-1B visa processing time generally takes between 6 and 12 months. However, it is possible to file with USCIS the Form I-907, request for premium processing to expedite this process.
Can Family Members Of The L-1B Visa Holder Accompany Him?
An employee transferring to the US on an L-1B visa may be accompanied or followed by their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Such companions may apply for admission under the L-2 classification.
- The L-2 classification has the same length of stay as the L-1B visa holder.
- Family members already in the US who are applying for a change of status or an extension of stay can file with USCIS Form I-539 , Application for Extension/Change of Status.
- Spouses of L-1B holders with valid L-2S status are authorized to work based on their status. To do this, you must submit:
- The current Form I-94 arrival/departure record L-2 or L-2S.
- A valid or expired Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
For more information regarding work authorization for spouses, consult with our firm.
Is There A Limit To The Number Of L-1B Visas Available Per Year?
There is no limit to the number of L-1B visas available during each fiscal year.
Can I Get The Green Card If I Have The L-1B Visa?
The L-1B visa allows dual intent in the US, offering a path to residency. To do this, the foreigner must obtain USCIS approval of an immigrant petition, whether it is a US family-based immigration petition or an employment petition.
Once one of these petitions is approved, the foreigner can carry out the adjustment of status or consular processing.
Some of the employment-based Green Cards available to L-1B workers include:
- EB-2 visa: Available to foreign nationals who demonstrate exceptional ability in their field or who have an advanced degree.
- EB-3 visa: For professionals (graduates), skilled workers (with at least 2 years of training or work experience), and unskilled workers (with at least 2 years of training or work experience).
How Are L-1B Visas Different From L-1A Visas?
These two visas are very different. For example, the L-1B visa is for employees with specialized knowledge, while the L-1A visa is for executives or managers.
Is It Possible To Change From The L-1B Visa To L-1A?
It is possible to change from the L-1B to the L-1A visa, provided that the alien with specialized knowledge is promoted within the US company.
To be eligible for the 7-year L-1A visa period of stay, the worker must have been employed in a managerial or executive position for at least 6 months.
How Can The Immigration Attorneys At Curbelo Law Help You?
There are many applications for the L-1B visa per year, so both the employer and the employee must be careful when submitting the forms and documents. An error in the submission could cause a delay or denial of the request.
To avoid these mistakes, it is essential to have an experienced immigration attorney close to help you apply effectively.
The team of professionals at Curbelo Law have more than 10 years of experience in these procedures, where they have helped hundreds of clients to submit and acquire the L-1B visa application process. Call us today so we can discuss your immigration status.