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On August 17, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final Policy Memorandum on L-1B visa adjudications (L-1B Memo). The L-1 (intracompany transferee) nonimmigrant visa classification permits multinational companies to transfer certain categories of employees from their foreign operations to their operations in the United States. Specifically, the L-1A classification is available for intracompany transfers of corporate managers and executives, while the L-1B visa classification enables intracompany transfers of employees who possess "specialized knowledge."

Federal regulations define "specialized knowledge" as "special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures." Currently, most L-1B challenges revolve around this definition and how USCIS applies it. The L-1B Memo rescinds prior guidance and establishes new parameters to be followed by USCIS officers when reviewing L-1B petitions to determine if “specialized knowledge” exists.

Learn more about this new guidance and what it means for L-1B visa classifications on our Immigration Blog.