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Understanding the useful L-1A/B transfer visa for workers

Running an international business with locations or headquarters in the United States is complex, to say the least. One of the most difficult aspects of such an enterprise is often securing the work of the most qualified professionals for your business. Finding someone capable of doing the work locally simply isn't always an option, even with recent increases in how many visas there are. Perhaps you need someone with unique skills and years of education. Maybe there isn't a highly-educated population near your facilities.

Whatever the situation, many companies find it prudent to secure workers from international locations. Immigrant employees can bring education, experience and expertise to your company. However, it can often prove to be a complicated process. You may not be able to get the kind of visa you want. Some programs even rely on lottery for final selection.

Transferring an existing international employee to your United States operations under an L-1 visa may be the best option for some employers. These visa programs also help international companies send workers into the United States to establish a presence here.

The L-1A applies to executives and managers

If there is an executive or manager working for your company in another country, you can apply for an L-1A visa to have that worker legally transferred into the United States. In order to qualify for this kind of visa, the worker in question must already have a qualifying work relationship with your company. Working for your parent company, an international branch, a subsidiary or an affiliate could all qualify an employee for this visa.

Typically, this worker must have been employed by your company for at least one continuous year in the last three years. The job this candidate will fill must be an executive or managerial role. Typically, these workers have up to three years for the initial stay with this form of visa. You may apply for extensions of another two years up to two times, for a maximum limit of seven years. The employee's spouse and children under the age of 21 may typically live in the United States as well.

The L-1B visa works for those with specialized knowledge

Whether your company is seeking to fill a position with a chemist, engineer or medical professional, the worker you're considering could qualify under the L-1B visa program. This program allows an internal employee with specialized knowledge to transfer into the United States. The L-1B has the same basic relationship requirements, meaning the employee must work for your company for at least one continuous year in the last three years.

This worker must also have specialized knowledge, gained through education or experience, which applies to your business. Knowledge about your products, services, research or techniques could constitute specialized knowledge.

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