United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Releases Long-Awaited Memorandum Detailing Adjudication Policy for L-1B Specialized Knowledge Petitions

March 24, 2015

The USCIS memorandum acknowledges that the L-1B classification was created to allow companies to leverage their workforces by transferring employees with specialized knowledge to the United States, thereby promoting the United States as a global business destination.  The memorandum seeks to further clarify how the definitions of "specialized knowledge" and "advanced knowledge" should be applied by USCIS during the adjudication process.  The memorandum emphasizes that employers need only establish an employee's eligibility for the L-1B classification by preponderance of the evidence, and not by clear and convincing evidence or beyond a reasonable doubt.  In addition, this guidance confirms that where the underlying facts remain identical (i.e., same petitioning employer, same beneficiary, same offer of employment, etc.), deference should be given to prior USCIS determinations granting L-1B status.  


In November 2014, President Obama's executive action on immigration called for a policy memorandum on the adjudication of L-1B petitions in order to modernize, improve and clarify how immigration programs grow the United States economy and create jobs.  The USCIS memorandum will be posted online for a 45-day public feedback period and is expected to become effective as of August 31, 2015.  The memorandum may be viewed in its entirety here.


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