USCIS Policies Lead to High Denial Rates for L-1B Petitions

The L-1B nonimmigrant visa program is regularly utilized by companies to transfer employees with specialized knowledge from foreign countries to the United States. According to a recent analysis, the program continues to experience significant denial rates, raising questions about the underlying causes of the phenomenon. 

L1-B Visa Program

The L1-B Visa Program allows employers to transfer certain nonimmigrant employees from foreign offices to offices within the United States. Specifically, the employment-based nonimmigrant visa program allows the transfer of professional employees with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from foreign offices to the United States, sometimes even to establish a U.S. office. To qualify under the program, the employee must possess “specialized knowledge,” which, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”), requires knowledge of the petitioning employer’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests. USCIS evaluates L-1B petitions on a case-by-case basis. 

In practice, L-1B petitions are filed by employers on behalf of their employees seeking intracompany transfer. While an employer may file an L-1B petition for an individual employee, larger companies may have the option to