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L-1 Visa: Specialized Knowledge

To qualify for the L-1 visa, you must be assigned to work in the US in a position that is managerial, executive, or requires specialized knowledge. Executives and managers may apply for the L-1A visa and those with specialized knowledge may apply for the L-1B visa. The definition of “specialized knowledge” was not clearly defined by Congress in the statute and has been subject to varying interpretations by the USCIS and the courts resulting from a wide variety of fact patterns. If you have questions about the L-1 visa or would like to consult with an attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. We have over 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.

What is an L-1 specialized knowledge transferee?

A specialized knowledge transferee is one who has a special knowledge of the company’s product and its application in international markets or an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company. The specialized knowledge may concern the company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, or management. Although it is not required that this knowledge be unique, this knowledge must be substantially different than knowledge normally found in the industry. This specialized knowledge should contribute to the uninterrupted operation of a US company that is a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, that is doing business with the foreign entity.

The knowledge must be substantially different to that normally found in the industry

Your specialized knowledge should be substantially different from the knowledge possessed by similar workers throughout the industry or by other employees of the company. You must be able to establish that the specialized knowledge has value to the company in that the company will improve productivity, competitiveness, image, or financial position as a result of your specialized knowledge.

The knowledge is not required to be unique or extremely rare

There is no requirement that your specialized knowledge be unique, extremely rare, or even uncommon on US workers in the same field. Therefore, you should not be required to establish that no other US workers have that knowledge, that no one else has that knowledge, or that only a handful of people have it. However, these are certainly relevant factors that may be considered in your favor if relevant. Yet, all that is necessary is that your specialized knowledge is uncommon in the industry.

May contribute to uninterrupted operation of the US company

An important factor is how much your knowledge will contribute to the uninterrupted operation of that part of business for which your services are sought. The USCIS would assess whether new US workers could be trained in-house considering the complexity and length of such training, and also considering the level of economic loss the company would suffer from training another person to take the position instead. If you would like further information about the specialized knowledge transferee position or any other immigration matter, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.

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