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L-1A Intracompany Transferee Process

Posted by attorney Brian Lerner

If you work at a company outside of the United States which has some type of branch or related office in the United States, you can come to the United States as an Intracompany Transferee. It can be approved in as fast as two to three months. The visa can be extended for up to 7 years depending on the type of employee you are.

If you are a manager, and later want to get your green card, you can quickly obtain your green card as a Multinational Manager. Otherwise, if you are not a manager, and decide you want your green card, you can apply for ‘Labor Certification’ while you have your Intracompany Transferee Visa.

Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the United States once your visa is approved. Additionally, you children can go to school in the United States without a problem.

There are two major types of L Visa. First, is the L-1A which are managerial and executive in nature. The other type would be the L-1B which deals with intracompany transferees that have what is known as ’specialized knowledge’.

Provisions to prohibit the “outsourcing" of L-1B specialized knowledge workers were enacted in December 2004. Specifically, L-1B temporary workers can no longer work primarily at a worksite other than that of their petitioning employer if either: (1) the work is controlled and supervised by a different employer; or (2) the offsite arrangement is essentially one to provide a non- petitioning party with local labor for hire, rather than a service related to the specialized knowledge of the petitioning employer. The USCIS will interpret these provisions to require an L-1B petitioning employer to retain ultimate authority over the worker. The determination as to whether an alien is or will be employed primarily at a worksite other than that of the petitioner will depend on the specific facts presented.

The bar will not apply if the satisfactory performance of such off-site employment duties requires that the L-1B temporary worker must have specialized or advanced knowledge of the petitioning employer’s product, service, or other interests, as defined under current USCIS regulations. General skills or duties that relate to ordinary business or work activities would not meet the test of whether specialized knowledge is required for the work.

There has been an increased level of scrutiny on the part of USCIS of L-1B petitions in general, and of L-1B petitions filed for workers in the information technology (IT) field in particular which coincided with the implementation of the 2004 law and its special restrictions on employers contracting L-1B workers out to unrelated third parties. In some cases, USCIS adjudicators appear to be applying an outdated analysis of specialized knowledge, based on the law as it stood before amendments made by the 1990 Act.

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