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L1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa that authorizes organizations to transfer foreign workers to work in their US-based branch or subsidiary. This visa is designed for employees who possess technical proficiency in their field and are considered important to the company's operations.

Eligibility Criteria to Get an L1B Visa

  • The employee must have worked for the company for at least one year outside the United States in the past three years.
  • The employee must have technological understanding in their field of work.
  • The United States branch or subsidiary must have a qualifying association with the foreign company.
  • The applicant must have worked for the foreign office of the same company for at least one continuous year out of the previous three years.
  • The U.S. company must be a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company.
  • The applicant must come to the United States to work in an administrative, executive, or technical knowledge capacity.
  • The U.S. company must have been doing trade for at least one year.
  • The applicant must have a job offer from a U.S. organization.

Once the above prerequisites are fulfilled, the U.S. company can file a petition for the employee with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will review the petition and, if approved, will administer an L-1B visa.

Validity of an L1B Visa

The initial L1B visa is valid for up to 3 years.

  • The L1B visa can be extended up to a maximum of 5 years.
  • After the L1B visa lapses, the employee must leave the United States unless they have applied for and been granted a different visa.
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Advantages of an L1B Visa

  • No Labor Certification is Required.

    Unlike other types of visas, the L-1B visa does not need the employer to obtain a labour certification from the Department of Labor, making the application procedure more streamlined.

  • Temporary Work Authorization.

    The L-1B visa authorizes multinational companies to transfer their technological workers to their U.S. offices for a temporary duration of up to five years.

  • Flexibility

    The L-1B visa allows workers to travel in and out of the United States without requiring a separate visa. In addition, the employee can work for the U.S. company part-time or full-time, as long as the minimum working hours are fulfilled.

  • Dependents Can Accompany.

    Dependents of L-1B visa holders, such as partners and unmarried kids under 21, can also accompany them to the United States and apply for dependent visas.

  • Way to Permanent Residency.

    The L-1B visa holder can apply for permanent residence through the employment-based green card procedure, which may lead to permanent residency in the United States.

Disadvantages of an L1B Visa

  • Employer Dependency

    The L-1B visa holder's ability to remain and work in the United States depends on their employer. If the employer terminates their employment or the company goes out of the company, the employee may be compelled to leave the United States.

  • Restricted Job Opportunities

    The L-1B visa holder can only work for the U.S. business that sponsored their visa. They cannot work for any other employer without obtaining a different visa or permanent residency.

  • Limited Term

    The L-1B visa is only valid for a maximum term of five years. After this duration, the employee must leave the United States unless they get a different visa or permanent residency.

  • No Path to Citizenship

    While the L-1B visa holder may be able to apply for permanent residency, there is no direct way to citizenship through this visa. The employee must fulfill additional prerequisites and apply for citizenship separately.

  • Specialized Knowledge Requirement

    The L-1B visa is only available to workers with the specialized understanding and skills necessary for the company's operations. This prerequisite can be difficult to fulfill, and not all employees may qualify.

Key Terms for L1B Visa

  • Specialized Knowledge: Knowledge unique to a firm and not generally available in the U.S. job market.
  • Petitioner: The employer who supports the L1B visa for the worker.
  • Beneficiary: The employee who will be transferred to the United States on an L1B visa.
  • USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the national agency accountable for processing and authorizing L1B visa applications.
  • Blanket L1B Visa: A type of L1B visa that allows a business to transfer numerous workers to the U.S. without having to file separate petitions for each employee.
  • Port of Entry: The United States airport or other entry points where the beneficiary will submit their visa and other travel papers.
  • Visa Stamp: The physical stamp or sticker in the beneficiary's passport allows them to enter the United States.
  • I-94 Record: A description of the beneficiary's arrival and exit dates in the U.S. that United States Customs and Border Protection generate.
  • Extension of Stay: The procedure of ordering additional time in the U.S. beyond the initial term of authorized stay on the L1B visa.

Final Thoughts on L1B Visa

In a nutshell, the L1B visa is a useful alternative for businesses to transfer their foreign workers to the United States for a limited term. It provides a relatively effortless and cost-effective way to transfer specialized understanding to employees in the United States while also allowing their family members to accompany them.

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ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


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