Through the L1-B visa to USA, professional employees who possess specialized knowledge regarding their organization’s interests can be transferred from a foreign office to an affiliated U.S. office. More importantly, it allows companies located outside USA that do not have a U.S. office to send the specialized knowledge employee to USA for establishing a new office there – which makes it a very viable US business visa option.
Those entering USA to set up a new office are granted an initial one-year period of stay, while other intra-company transferees are allowed three years. The period of stay can be extended in two-year increments, till the beneficiary completes five years of stay in USA. The visa holder can apply for permanent residence during this period, and eventually seek US citizenship.
Within the L-1 US business visa types, there are three sub-categories:
General: Specialized knowledge employees being transferred to an existing U.S. affiliated to their domestic employer.
New Offices: Specialized knowledge employees entering USA to help set up a new U.S. office for the employer.
Blanket Petitions: Multiple specialized knowledge employees being transferred to the U.S. office of the employer, without having to file individual applications for each employee.
The process of submitting a US business visa application under the L-1B classification varies depending on the applicant’s category:
General and New Offices
Stage 1: The employer must submit a Form I-129 (Petition for Non-immigrant Worker) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Stage 2: USCIS will issued a notice of receipt to the petitioner, and inform them of the biometrics appointment date.
Stage 3: After due processing, USCIS will grant or refuse the visa application.
Stage 1: Employers can file a blanket L petition to USCIS.
Stage 2: If approved, the employer will typically send a completed Form I-129S (Non-immigrant Petition Based on blanket L Petition), a copy of the approval notice, and other requisite evidence, to the employee.
Stage 3: The employee will then present these documents to the consular officer, in relation to the L-1 visa application.
The L-1B US business visa requirements are also dependent on the applicant’s profile:
The employer should:
The employee should:
The basic documents that the petitioner must submit as evidence of meeting the business visa USA requirements include:
New Office petitioners must provide the following documents:
The US business visa processing time varies according to the volume of applications at the relevant USCIS centre. As of May 2020, the processing of Form I-129 required at least two to four months. This can be expedited by applying for premium processing and paying an additional fee to have the application processed within 15 calendar days.
The US business visa cost of the L-1B classification includes the Form I-129 filing fee ($460) and the cost of biometrics ($85).
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