Thursday, January 22, 2009

L-1B Specialized Knowledge Visa - Factors For a Successful Petition

For companies with an overseas subsidiary, branch, or affiliate, the L-1B visa has been a very useful tool to transfer employees of specialized knowledge from offices abroad to work in offices in the United States. Getting an L-1B petition approved has become quite a challenge. Here are some factors for employers to focus on when determining whether a beneficiary possesses Specialized Knowledge for purposes of obtaining an L-1B visa.

Under the federal regulations, Specialized Knowledge is defined as the petitioner's product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets; or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise of the petitioner's processes and procedures. Factors considered by USCIS on whether a beneficiary possesses Specialized Knowledge include the following:

1. Does the beneficiary possess knowledge that is valuable to the employer's competitiveness in the market place?

2. Is the beneficiary qualified to contribute to the United States employer's knowledge of foreign operating conditions as a result of special knowledge not generally found in the industry?

3. Has the beneficiary been utilized abroad in a capacity involving significant assignments which have enhanced the employer's productivity, competitiveness, image, or financial position?

4. Does the beneficiary possess knowledge which can be gained only through prior experience with that employer?

5. Does the beneficiary possess knowledge of a product or process which cannot be easily transferred or taught to another individual?

6. Does the beneficiary have knowledge of a process or a product that is of a sophisticated nature, although not unique to the foreign firm, which is not generally known in the United States?

By drafting employer letters and providing documentary evidence addressing the above factors, employers may decrease the likelihood of receiving time consuming Request for Evidence letters from USCIS.

John Mei is an immigration attorney and partner with the law firm of Danziger and Mei, LLP located in Woodland Hills, California. Mr. Mei provides clients with solutions in the area business and corporate immigration law. His practice areas include all nonimmigrant visas (H, L, J, E, etc.), labor certifications, schedule A workers, petitions for EB 1 to 3, National Interest Waivers, investor visas such as E-1 / E-2 and EB-5 investor petitions. Mr. Mei's law firm has represented U.S. companies, multi-national corporations, start-ups, publically traded corporations, hospitals, as well as public and private universities, and foreign investors. He is committed to providing legal services focused on professional ethics and giving clients results through creative legal solutions. Mr. Mei endeavors to build relationships with clients based on trust and communication. As such returning client phone calls and emails inquiries is a priority. To contact John Mei, please visit his firm's website at:

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