L-1B: SCOPE OF PROGAM
The L-1B intra-company visas are for employees of international companies who have agreed to transfer to a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch of the same company that operates in the U.S. As long as they fill the specialized knowledge requirement they can travel without restrictions into and out of the U.S. as an L-1B intra-company transferee and are still legally entitled to seek permanent residency under the dual intent feature that the L-1B visa offers.
Once the petition has been filed by the employer, the visa holder’s family can accompany him or her to the U.S. on L-2 visas. The spouse can take up employment once an application for a work permit has been approved and the children who are under 21 years can attend school. There is no restriction on the type of employment the spouse may undertake. The children are not permitted, however, to take up employment when accompanying an L-1B visa holder.
Period of stay Intra-company transferees who are endowed with specialized knowledge can work for 2 years to begin with which is extendable for up to a period of 5 years. The extensions are normally granted for one year each time until the maximum 5 year period has been reached. Family/derivative status Once the maximum period of 5 years has been reached, the spouse of the L-1B visa holder may be able to swap positions if she or he meets the specialized knowledge requirements. This would mean the initial visa holder would take up an L-2 visa status with the same rights. Changing/extending status As well as the option to swap visas between spouses, the main holder can apply for other visas if he or she fits the prerequisites, including the right to file for permanent residency for the applicant and his or her family. Each time an extension is applied for, both the U.S. company and the overseas company have to provide proof that they have been open, viable and active for the previous employment period and the period that the extension is required for.
They also need to furnish proof that the intra-company transferee’s specialized knowledge is still required. This means providing a job description and the requirements needed for the position including the unique knowledge the transferee has which will be put to use by the U.S. company. The providing of an organizational chart, showing the transferee’s position in the United States company and the overseas company