Immigration Newswire

What is specialized knowledge?

Posted by Emilie (Ronald) Gough | Oct 05, 2023 | 0 Comments

The L-1 visa for intracompany transferees has two classifications – L-1A for managers/ executives and L-1B for specialized knowledge employees. 

Qualifying as a specialized knowledge employee can be challenging. USCIS can put L-1B cases under a lot of scrutiny to ensure the case legitimately involves specialized knowledge.  

What is specialized knowledge?  

Specialized knowledge has been defined as: 

  • specialized knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets or…an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company. INA 214 (c)(2)(B)
  • 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. 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D)

It is important to note that specialized knowledge encompasses products, services, research, equipment, and techniques. This allows for a range of possibilities when considering whether the L-1B is a good fit for your employee. 

What can qualify as specialized knowledge? 

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to specialized knowledge. If there is something unique about your company's products, services, or other techniques then it is possible your employee may qualify for an L-1B. 

At the Law Offices of James D. Eiss, we have had success with L-1B petitions in a variety of fact patterns. Some of our successful L-1B cases include: 

  • Servicing or other hands-on work with proprietary machinery
  • Installing and/or servicing proprietary software OR creating and installing proprietary add-ons to a non-proprietary software
  • Aligning and standardizing company human resources policies and procedures globally
  • Advanced level of knowledge of procedures and processes used for clients globally 
How can I show specialized knowledge?

A successful L-1B application should have supporting documentation showing the employee's specialized knowledge. You should be prepared to show:

  • The knowledge can only be gained by experience with the employer
  • The knowledge is not commonly held within the industry or even within the company
  • Significant economic cost or inconvenience to the employer to train a new employee  for the same level of knowledge
  • Any documentation showing the proprietary nature of any product or service involved in the employee's job. 

Additional documentation may vary by the specific facts of your case.


Contact the Law Offices of James D. Eiss today if you would like to set up a consultation regarding L-1B specialized knowledge petitions. 

About the Author

Emilie (Ronald) Gough

Emilie E. Ronald is an Associate Attorney. She first joined the Law Offices of James D. Eiss in 2018 as a Law Clerk during her second year of law school. She was admitted as an attorney in the state of New York in January 2020. Emilie primarily focuses on TNs, L-1s, E-1s, E-2s, O-1s, and R-1s. Sh...


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