L-1B Visa Based On Specialized Knowledge

Our San Francisco immigration law department regularly obtains L-1B visas for European Union, Irish, British, Middle Eastern, South East Asian, South American and Chinese clients. Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates is proud to say that clients of our San Francisco law firm have a superior success rate with L-1B visa petitions.

The L-1B visa was created to allow U.S. employers with international operations to transfer overseas employees into the U.S. and to integrate specialized knowledge of overseas employees with the company’s US workforce. Our San Francisco law firm’s immigration department lawyers remind clients (both employers and the employees) that specialized knowledge is carefully defined in the regulations as unique knowledge of the petitioning company’s products, research, services, techniques, equipment, or management, and how that knowledge is applied in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization's processes and procedures.

Our San Francisco immigration experts caution that the current working definition of “specialized knowledge” applied in the context of an L-1B visa contains two separate criteria and involves a strict standard. The congressional statute states that a foreign national has specialized knowledge if he or she has special knowledge both of the company product and its application in international markets. Alternatively he or she will qualify as having specialized knowledge if he or she has an advanced level of knowledge in the processes and procedures of the company. The knowledge need not be proprietary at the level of a protected trade secret or knowledge that is so unique that no one else has the particular “know-how”; but it must be different or uncommon. For purposes of the L-1B visa, our San Francisco immigration department lawyers counsel that the test for specialized knowledge involves only an examination of the knowledge or “know how” possessed by the foreign national, and not whether a similarly knowledgeable worker already exists.

A foreign national with specialized knowledge may or may not receive approval, depending on how United States authorities reach their own conclusions after an analysis that involves the following factors:

  • He has knowledge and information that is particularly valuable to the employer’s competitiveness in the marketplace.
  • He is able to significantly contribute to the U.S. employer’s knowledge of foreign operating conditions as a result of the special knowledge not generally found in the industry.
  • His employment overseas involved significant assignments that enhanced the employer’s financial position, company productivity, company image or competitiveness.
  • He has the type of knowledge, which, usually can only be gained through prior experience with that particular employer.
  • His knowledge of a product or of a process is the type of knowledge that cannot be easily transferred or cannot easily be taught to another individual.
  • The foreign national has knowledge of a product or process that is sophisticated in nature, if not unique to the foreign firm; but the product or process is not generally known in the U.S.

Preparing a visa petition can be an exercise in educating the U.S. government immigration service. The petitioner bears the burden to establish by what the law says is “probative evidence” that the foreign national’s product (or process) knowledge is noteworthy, uncommon or distinguished by some unusual quality and the knowledge is unique and “not generally known by practitioners in the foreign national’s field of endeavor”.

The L-1B visa recognizes dual intent. However, unlike the L-1A dual intent visa, the L-1B visa requires the foreign national’s employer to complete the labor certification (LCA) process before an immigrant visa petition can be filed.

Our immigration law department professionals are highly experienced on the different requirements for L-1B visas as compared with equally complex L-1A visa and H-1B visa requirements.

Please contact us and ask us to assist you with your visa petition. Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates attorneys have been helping immigrants for nearly thirty years.