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Part 4 – Intra-Company Transfer L-1A and L-1B Visas Editorial:

In this section, we will look at two additional types of candidates that could qualify for the L-1A or L-1B visa – executives and “specialized knowledge” specialist positions. It is important to understand the difference between manager, executive and specialist positions. True, it may seem that all overlap in some way, but determining which one is best for you and what the evidence supports will be the key to a successful application.

Let’s look at both the executive and specialist positions in more detail.

Part 4 – Intra-Company Transfer L-1A and L-1B Visas Commentary:

Overview of an Executive Position

“[An] executive directs the management of the organization or a major function or component of the organization, establish policies and goals of the organization, and [has] wide latitude in discretionary decision-making.”

It would be fair to say that the duties of an executive and of a manager overlap considerably. However, executives are generally more involved with the goal setting and direction of the company, and are accountable to shareholders and the board of directors (if applicable). In contrast, management functions are more geared to the implementation and execution of executive goals.

The larger the business, the greater the management function will separate out from the executive function. US Immigration will again often require an organizational chart to see how these roles are delineated, and also review the contract of employment to corroborate how the roles have been defined. Again, the larger the business, the easier this process tends to be.

Overview of a “Specialized Knowledge” Specialist Position L-1B

Section 214 (2) (B)

“An alien is considered to be serving in a capacity involving specialized knowledge with respect to a company if the alien has special knowledge of the company’s product and its application in international markets or has an advanced level knowledge of the processes and procedures of the company.”

In order to qualify as an L-1B beneficiary under the category of a company specialist, the petitioner must demonstrate that the beneficiary has an advanced level of knowledge of the company’s products and procedures that are simply not readily available in the US labor market. It is not enough to have a general knowledge or expertise / skill that enables the beneficiary to do the job.

The purpose of introducing this category was to facilitate foreign companies locating to the United States that might find it difficult to hire local US personnel who might not be familiar with the practices of the company. Those employees of the foreign company who had such specialized knowledge were allowed to transfer under the L-1B visa.

However, it must be pointed out that where a company is well established in the US, it will become more difficult to relocate staff from overseas under the specialized category if those skills are not particularly unique, advanced or highly specialized.

USCIS makes a useful distinction between those would-be beneficiaries whose skill would enable them to produce a particular product or function, as compared with beneficiaries who would be employed primarily for their ability to carry out an almost unique function that is key or essential to the company’s operation. Only the latter beneficiaries would qualify for L1-B status.

Key Attributes in Identifying Whether a Beneficiary has Specialized Knowledge:

The beneficiary possesses knowledge that is valuable to the employer’s competitiveness.

The beneficiary is uniquely qualified to contribute to the US employer’s knowledge of foreign operating conditions.

The beneficiary has been utilized as a key employee abroad and has been given significant assignments, which have enhanced the employer’s productivity and competitiveness, image or financial position.

Possesses knowledge that has been gained only through extensive, prior experience with that employer.

In other words, the specialist must be shown to be absolutely integral to the overall success of the company.

An interesting case study might be for a Sushi Restaurant. Let’s take the Rising Sun Sushi Restaurant chain from Japan, for example. They might wish to bring over some of their leading chefs to launch a chain in the US. The training of a sushi chef may take many years of devotion and practice – some might argue it’s very much an art form. The highly skilled and highly trained chefs from the Rising Sun are one of the primary reasons for the brand’s success. Therefore, it would be reasonable and would fit the L-1B visa’s profile of a specialist.

We hope you’re enjoying this presentation series on Intra-company L-1A and L-1B visas. In the next presentation, we’ll focus on how to open a new branch in the US.

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
[Cross Streets 4th and Wilshire]
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 442 244 4350

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