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As many people know, the government is looking very closely at L-1B visas and whether specialized knowledge exists for an L-1B. Our office has seen quite a few requests for evidence and denials because the USCIS is not convinced that an executive possesses specialized knowledge. The government often states that the knowledge must be unique or proprietary knowledge of the product being sold or produced by the foreign entity.

A case, The Matter of Sandoz, which was a case decided prior to 1990, held that the knowledge needed to be proprietary. However, since 1990, there have been INS memos to the contrary that the knowledge has to be more than ordinary, not necessarily unique. The embassy (Department of State) recently said in a memo that specialized knowledge has to be more than ordinary, not unique. It seems like maybe the Department of State is taking a more liberal view on L-1B’s now than USCIS. Remember, USCIS adjudicators feel that their job is to protect US workers, so they ask about US workers being able to do the job with a little training. This is not a criteria for an L-1B though so if this is asked, it is best to question this reasoning.

October 2011