U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released long-awaited draft policy guidance on the adjudication of L-1B visas.

The draft policy memorandum will be used by USCIS officers in making L-1B visa determinations and states that its purpose is to provide “consolidated and authoritative guidance on the L-1B program, superseding and rescinding certain prior L-1B memoranda.”

The draft memorandum addresses the definition of “specialized knowledge,” a requirement to qualify for L-1B visas. The draft memo analyzes the application of the “specialized knowledge” criteria and provides a non-exhaustive list of factors that USCIS may consider when determining whether an individual meets the definition of “specialized knowledge,” as well as the types of evidence a company may submit to prove this element.

The L-1B visa program allows multinational companies to transfer employees possessing specialized knowledge to a U.S. office. L-1B petitions face high denial rates, in part because of the inconsistency in how the standard of “specialized knowledge” is interpreted. Companies have asked USCIS to provide guidance and clarity on this subject for a number of years.

President Barack Obama announced Monday that his administration will “reform the L-1B visa category.” USCIS is soliciting public comment on the draft policy memo until May 8, 2015.

BAL Analysis: BAL is working with clients to analyze how the draft guidance may affect their immigration programs. 

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