California L1B Visa Lawyer
The United States has many branches and affiliates of different international businesses. As part of their business-growth strategy, international businesses aim to enhance U.S.-affiliated offices by temporarily bringing foreign workers with specific expertise that cannot be found in the States.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services grants temporary foreign workers visas to the U.S. under the L-1B program. The L-1B nonimmigrant visa allows companies to temporarily transfer employees to a U.S. office within some corporate structure to fit a role requiring specialized skill or knowledge at an affiliated office.
Businesses are already hard at work. So let a California L-1B visa lawyer from Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law help you transfer the right expertise to a U.S.-based office.
We provide confidential and no-obligation case reviews to discuss the strategies available for transferring a temporary foreign worker to a U.S.-based office or affiliate. Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online to schedule your appointment today.
How Can a California L-1B Visa Attorney Help?
Acquiring an L1-B nonimmigrant visa can be challenging, as it involves many steps that can become quickly overwhelming without legal assistance. While applicants are not required to work with an attorney, getting legal aid is usually recommended to provide guidance and answers to any questions throughout the process.
Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law has assisted companies seeking to transfer workers and individuals who feel like they need more support on their journey toward receiving an L-1B visa. Our highly experienced attorneys can provide you with the following benefits:
- Verification of the L-1B visa requirements and consideration of other possible visas in order to find the program best-fit to your objectives
- Assistance with gathering all documentation and providing the evidence USCIS and consulates expect when weighing the merits of an L-1B approval
- Preparation for your interview, including common questions and red flags U.S. immigration officers look for when granting approval
- Anticipation for your arrival and entry, including help preparing you for a conversation with a CBP officer at your port of entry
- Legal representation and assistance during your stay, including resolution of potential issues or complications, as well as help with any needed renewals
- Ongoing support in the case of repeat L-1B trips by multiple employees or the need to obtain another type of visa for an individual to return to the U.S. after any applicable minimum waiting period has lapsed
What Is Qualified Specialized Knowledge?
Individuals with specialized knowledge know the product or service their employer sells best. Not only that, but qualified applicants also understand the research behind the product, what equipment is needed to optimize its use, and its position in international markets.
Applicants must prove that their specialized knowledge is not something that is commonly held. Recognition in a particular field, especially STEM fields, business management, research, accounting, finance, HR, or other specialized disciplines, can help individuals demonstrate their qualifications.
An L-1B visa lawyer can help applicants and their employers gather proof of specialized expertise. All evidence will show how the applicant’s specialized knowledge helped the foreign company prosper and how the skills can benefit their office or affiliate in the U.S.
Who Qualifies for an L-1B Visa?
The L-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa program that allows foreign workers with specific skill sets to transfer to a U.S. office affiliated with their current company. If their current employer does not have an affiliated U.S. office, their employee can still come to create a branch or U.S.-affiliated office.
International businesses seeking an employee transfer to work temporarily from the U.S. must ensure they meet all requirements to qualify for an L-1B visa. Failure to meet these qualifications can lead to an applicant’s visa rejection.
- Applicants cannot self-petition; they must have an employer file on their behalf as their sponsor
- The applicant must work for a foreign company. Foreign companies can be branches, affiliates, subsidiaries, or parent companies.
- The international business which the applicant works for must be viable and in good financial standing
- The international business must either be or will be doing business in the U.S. and at least one other country
- Applicants cannot be hired or controlled by an unaffiliated employer
Additionally, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires employees to prove they work in the business.
- Applicants are required to work abroad for one continuous year with their employer. This 12-month period must be during a three-year window before submitting any applications.
- The employee will seek to enter the U.S. to provide a specialized skillset
An L-1B visa lawyer can help you distinguish the requirements and identify evidence of qualified specialized knowledge needed to proceed with a visa application.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law have worked many cases involving L-1B applicants. Generally, in our cases, we hear clients frequently ask the following questions.
Can Employees Come to Work in a New Office?
L-1B visa applicants can work in a new office of an established business with a visa limited to one year or 12 months before its expiration. Employers must secure a location for the new office before the temporary visa is approved and provide financial compensation to the applicant during their stay.
Any foreign company in operation for less than one year is considered a new office by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Consequently, any rules and regulations placed for businesses identified as new offices will also apply to its applicants.
How Long Can an Employee Stay on an L-1B Visa?
The term of an L-1B visa differs if the applicant is establishing a new affiliate office or if they will work for an existing office or affiliate.
The maximum amount of time that an employee with an L-1B visa can stay in the U.S. if they are to establish a new office is one year — or 12 consecutive months. However, if the applicant is coming to a pre-existing office, they may remain in the U.S. for no more than three years.
Can an L-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Be Extended?
Requests for an extension may be granted for an L-1B visa holder, allowing for an additional two years until the visa holder maximizes their stay at five years. After five years, there is no other option to file an extension without changing to another visa status program.
What About an Applicant’s Immediate Family?
Similar to other visa programs, immediate families are welcome to accompany the applicant while they are in the U.S. so long as they have legal visa status.
Spouses and children under the age of 21 with a valid L-2 visa status are permitted to accompany an L-1B visa holder while in the United States. Once approved, the term of an L-2 visa will match that of the L-1B applicant.
L-2 visa status does permit recipients to work in the U.S. so long as they have completed a Form I-94 that accompanies their visa, among other required documents, including:
- A notice from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Active L-2 visa status
- Any current or expired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and additional relevant documentation
- Any automatic extensions, as dictated on their existing Form I-766.
Some spouses will qualify for automatic work authorization for up to 180 days. Working with an L-1B visa attorney can help you through this process.
What Happened to the Canadian Pilot Program?
From April 2018 to April 2020, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) introduced a pilot program designed for Canadian residents who seek to work temporarily out of the U.S. Applicants would go through a remote adjudication process before entering the U.S.
The purpose of this program was to facilitate the admission process of Canadians traveling to the U.S. under an L-1B visa status. Form I-129, and I-129S became a test to help study the program’s efficacy and process.
Since April 2020, this pilot program was completed and subsequently not renewed. As a result, Canadians seeking to enter the U.S. with an L-1B visa must go through the same process as all other applicants.
Can a Company Create a Blanket Petition?
An employer may be granted a blanket petition before filing any individual L-1B visa applications. These blanket petitions are not granted to all companies but can be an option for companies that meet specific requirements:
- An applying organization must have an office in the United States and must be in operation for at least one year
- Must be engaged in recognized commercial trades or services
- The applying organization must have three or more existing domestic and foreign business branches. These can also be subsidiaries and affiliates.
Apart from meeting the above, applying organizations must also meet one of the three criteria:
- Have a workforce of at least 1,000 workers
- Have received no less than 10 L-1 approvals in the last 12 months
- Have subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of no less than $25 million
Work With a Proven California L1B Visa Attorney
Applying for an L-1B nonimmigrant visa can open the door for many international companies to bring specialized education and skills to the American workforce. Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law have worked with many applicants and companies who sought an L-1B visa, and we understand the factors that promote the success of our client’s objectives.