E-2 Visa approved for a Singaporean national during COVID-19

221g Administrative Processing – What is it and What Can be Done

Pursuant to your non-immigrant visa (L, H-1B, E-2, O-1) interview, the consular officer will typically indicate whether they are approving or refusing/denying the visa.  But at times, officers may require additional information due to which they are unable to approve or deny the visa at the end of the interview.  In such instances, the officer will “refuse” the visa application placing it under “221g Administrative Processing,” requiring further scrutiny.  Generally, the applicant will receive a notice from the consular officer indicating that their case is undergoing administrative processing, and in some situations, listing further documents that may be needed.

There’s often confusion that a “Refused” visa status on the Department of State’s case portal means that the visa was denied. A Refused status in the context of administrative processing does not mean that the visa was denied or that the refusal is final; it means that the final decision is put on hold until necessary checks are completed.  A refusal may be overcome by providing further information and/or documents as may have been requested by the consulate.

Possible Reasons for Administrative Processing

  • Additional Background Checks – In certain situations, a consular officer will need to verify or confirm certain data.  For example, in H-1B cases, where the applicant will be deployed to an end-client worksite, common in the IT industry, the officer may need to contact the end client to verify assignment and worksite details or employer-employee relationship. 
  • Missing Documentation or Information – If any material information is missing or inaccurate, the officer will likely not make a decision and request further information or clarification as they deem fit. 
  • Criminal Background – If an applicant has a criminal record, the consular officer may need to conduct additional checks to determine their visa eligibility and further evidence such as police and court records may be needed.
  • Prior Visa denial – A prior visa denial does not necessarily hinder obtaining a visa in the same category (or a different one).  That said, if an applicant is unable to satisfactorily explain the change in circumstances from the last visa denial if applying in the same visa category, the consular officer may issue a 221g notice requesting further documentary evidence to clarify change in circumstances.  
  • Material Misrepresentation or Fraud Suspicion – Should an officer suspect fraud, for example, material inconsistencies in information provided in the petition and the applicant’s responses, the consular officer may want to perform additional checks or forward the application to their Fraud Prevention Unit for further investigation, which could involve employer site visits and interviews. 
  • Legal Question – In cases involving complex ownership corporate structures in the E-2 and L-1 visa context, an officer may want to seek guidance from higher authority or wish to review necessary departmental guidance and regulations. 
  • Petitioner Information Management Service (PIMS) – This generally happens when the underlying non-immigrant petition (filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has not been updated at the Kentucky Service Center, which scans the duplicate into PIMS systems for consulates to access petition data.

 Timeline and What Can be Done?

There is, unfortunately, no predictable timeline to the administrative processing phase, it can take from a few weeks to several months. 

If the consulate requests specific documents or information via their letter or email, one should ensure that the requisite items are submitted promptly as per their submission instructions. 

DOS has stated that their goal is to complete administrative processing within 60 days.  It is advisable to write to the post (via email and through their online portal) regarding the status of your case if there’s no decision within this timeframe.  If you believe that the consular officer expressed concern regarding any specific point or that you were unable to answer a material question, it might help to address that particular concern or question by way of an email to the consulate.

If the case is stuck in administrative delay for  n excessive period of time, a Mandamus lawsuit could be an option, seeking a U.S. court’s order to direct the post to adjudicate the visa application.

Once the administrative processing is complete, the consulate will issue the visa or refuse/deny it.  In cases where fraud is suspected, the consulate may return the petition to the USCIS with a recommendation for revocation. 

What to Bear in Mind

Administrative processing not only prolongs visa adjudication but to an extent, adds an element of uncertainty; hence it’s important to apply well in advance and factor in such delays.  Certain factors prompting administrative delays are beyond one’s control.  That said, to minimize chances of such delays, the applicant should be prepared to answer all questions as best they can and truthfully.  If you believe there’s anything in the petition or your background that might warrant scrutiny, ensure that you have the necessary explanation and supporting evidence if any.  And very importantly, it helps greatly to understand the requirements of your visa category and be well versed with key petition documents.  As good practice, one should carry all pertinent paperwork to the interview.

D&A attorneys routinely assist and guide visa applicants in the consular processing stage.  Please feel free to contact us if you require assistance in this regard.


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


L1 Visa India

United States Sets Visa Records in India in 2023

In a recent press release, the U.S. Mission in India has stated that in 2023, the consular team in India processed more non-immigrant and immigrant visas than ever before – a record-breaking 1.4 million.  There was a 60% hike in visa applications compared to the previous year, with demands surging across all visa categories.

Employment visas remain a top priority.  Consular officers in India processed over 380,000 employment visas (L-1, H-1B, etc.) for Indians and their family members in 2023 alone. Most petition-based visa processing was consolidated in cities such as Chennai and Hyderabad to increase efficiency and maintain minimal appointment wait times.  

The U.S. stateside 2024 pilot program which has kicked off, allows certain H-1B employees to renew their visas in the U.S., further streamlining processing.

The post in Mumbai which processes immigrant visas in India eliminated a queue of over 31,000 immigrant visa cases delayed by the pandemic.  Immigrant visa applicants can now obtain an appointment within the standard, pre-pandemic appointment window.

The U.S. Mission continues to invest in the future of consular services in India and explore ways to provide more efficient and convenient services.  

Source: https://in.usembassy.gov/


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


H1-B visa India Interview

The Pilot Program to Renew H-1B Visa Applications within the U.S 

The Department of state has launched a pilot program to resume visa renewals for qualified H-1B non-immigrant visa applicants within the U.S. nearly after two decades.

The program has started from January 29, 2024, through April 1, 2024, or when all application slots are filled, whichever comes first. Under this program the department will make a maximum of 20,000 application slots available for approximately 4,000 per week for applicants whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by U.S. Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, and for applicants whose most recent H-1B was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with an issuance date of January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023.

This move will help to reduce the workload on officers at the U.S. consulate abroad and also the H1-B beneficiary could continue stay within the country while the visa is being processed. This move will surely a good start, if and when the program becomes permanent it would be a smooth renewal process.

Who are eligible for renewal within the country?

Applicants who fulfil the below criteria shall be eligible for renewal within the country

· Seek to renew an H-1B nonimmigrant visa only;

· Prior H-1B visa that is being renewed was issued by U.S. Mission India or by U.S. Mission Canada;

· Are not subject to a non-immigrant visa issuance fee also known as commonly “reciprocity fee”;

· Are eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement;

· Have submitted ten fingerprints to the Department in connection with a previous visa application;

· Prior visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation;

· Do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance;

· Were most recently admitted to the United States in H-1B status;

· Are currently maintaining H-1B status in the United States;

· Have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition;

· Period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and

· Intend to re-enter the United States in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

If the above criteria’s are met then the applicants must submit following list of documents and fees to renew the visa within the U.S.

· A DS-160 barcode sheet for a properly completed and electronically filed form DS-160, Online Non-immigrant Visa Application

· A passport valid for travel to the United States, which is valid for at least six months beyond the visa application date, and contains at least two blank, unmarked pages for placement of a visa foil. RECOMMENDED: A passport containing the most recently issued H-1B visa if the visa is not in the current passport

· Non-refundable and non-transferable $205.00 MRV application processing fee

· One photograph not older than six months

· Copy of current Form I-797, Notice of Action

· Copy of Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record

The department is processing only H-1B Visa and not H-4 visas under the program. However, if the program becomes permanent then maybe more non-immigrant visa category shall be added such as L-1 visas, E-2 Visa, etc.


This article has been written by Sukanya Raman, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Sukanya is an Independent Consultant working the capacity of Associate of the firm’s Bengaluru office. She earned her first undergraduate degree in Commerce from Mumbai University in 2013 and her second undergraduate degree in Law from Indian Law Society’s Law College, Pune at Savitribai Phule Pune University in 2017.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


S

Importance of Timely Extension Filings and USCIS Update 

A foreign worker on a non-immigrant visa status in the United States (such as L-1, H-1B, E-2, etc.) may be needed to stay longer and work beyond the expiry of their admitted stay that was granted at the time of entering the United States, or as per their latest I-94, in which case the filing of an extension petition may become necessary.  The foreign worker’s US employer will file the I-129 with the USCIS, requesting to extend their non-immigrant status.  Extension petitions can be filed only if the employee (beneficiary) is present in the US at the time of filing.   

USCIS will generally not grant an extension approval if the foreign workers have failed to maintain their non-immigrant status or if their status has expired before the extension petition filing date.  Even during the validity period of their granted stay in the US, an employee could fall out of status; for example, an L-1 employee could lose their status if there is a structural change in the foreign employer abroad resulting in severance of the “qualifying relationship” between the foreign and US employer, as required for L-1 purposes. 

The timing of filing the extension petition is crucial as it has implications.  A late filing of an extension request, meaning filing after the expiry of the granted stay (generally until expiry of latest I-94), can result in them falling out of status.  This can at times have dire consequences, as unlawful presence in the US beyond certain prescribed periods trigger various bars to entering the country.  Thus, it’s very important to keep a track of petition/expiry dates and ensure timely filings of extension requests to avoid undesirable situations.   

Under certain circumstances, USCIS has discretion to condone late extension filings.  These circumstances are: 

  • Delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the person’s control; 
  • The length of delay was commensurate with the circumstances; 
  • The person has not otherwise violated their nonimmigrant status; 
  • The person remains a bona fide nonimmigrant; and 
  • The person is not the subject of removal proceedings and deportation proceedings. 

On January 25, 2024, USCIS updated their Policy Manual to clarify extraordinary circumstances that would allow USCIS discretion to excuse untimely extension filings.  These circumstances include situations where delay arose from a stoppage of work involving a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute; or due to inability to obtain a certified labor condition application due to a lapse in government funding supporting those adjudications. 

If USCIS approves an untimely extension petition, the approval is effective as of the date of the expiration of the prior non-immigrant admission period.  


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


US Visa Application

L1 Visa Document Checklist: What You Need 

About the L1 Visa 

The visa type L1 is a non-immigrant visa that allows an employer to transfer an employee holding a managerial or executive position or those employed in a specialized knowledge position to a qualifying organization in the U.S. Like other visa classifications, the process of L-1 Visa involves presenting  supporting documents and a visa interview. 

There are two different types of an L1 Visa: 1) L-1A and 2) L-1B. The L1A is for employees who will work in a managerial or executive capacity at the qualifying organization in the US, while the L1B is granted to those who will be employed in a specialized knowledge position in the US. 

For both cases, you would need to have worked continuously (in a specialized knowledge or managerial or executive capacity) for at least one year within the 3 years before your application and should be seeking to assume a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge position in the US. 

Your employer would need to file a petition on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through Form I-129 together with an L supplement. 

To help increase the chances of getting an approval, we have compiled a checklist of the supporting documents required from the foreign employer, the employee, and the U.S. company. 

In addition, the petitioner must establish that the beneficiary’s duties in the U.S meet the criteria for either specialized knowledge or managerial or executive capacity and the beneficiary engaged in either specialized knowledge or managerial or executive duties for at least 1 year 

Foreign Company Required Documents 

The following documents are required from the foreign company: 

  • Articles of Incorporation; 
  • Business License; 
  • Stock certificates and audited accounts; 
  • Business financial statements, and tax filings for the past 3 years; 
  • Evidence proving business transactions such as contracts, bills of lading, and letters of credit among others; 
  • Business promotional materials such as company brochures or product overviews; 
  • An organisational chart that includes the total number of employees and proof that the employee is holding a specialized knowledge, executive, or managerial position; 
  • Any contract or document detailing the affiliate relationship or corporate filings describing the corporate relationship; 
  • A statement from an authorised representative detailing the ownership and control of the company; and 

U.S. Company Documents 

As for the U.S. Company, here are the following documents required: 

  • Articles of Incorporation and corporate by-laws; 
  • Business license; 
  • Stock certificates and audited accounts; 
  • Business financial statements and promotional materials; 
  • A description of the business and a detailed business plan; 
  • An organisational chart that includes the total number of employees and the transferee’s position either as a specialized knowledge professional or an executive or managerial capacity; 
  • Business location lease; 
  • Bank statements or proof of initial investment 
  • Corporate tax returns, if any; 
  • Employer’s Quarterly Report Form 941, if any; and 

If you’re an employee coming to the country to set up a new U.S. office, you would need to submit evidence of the establishment of the new office such as an office space lease, contracts, and copies of applicable business permits. 

Blanket L Petition Requirements 

Foreign employers who regularly send employees abroad as transfers may opt to do a blanket petition which allows them to apply for multiple employees for the L1 status under a single approved petition, rather than file individual petitions with the USCIS. To be qualified, the employer must meet the following requirements: 

  • The petitioner and each of the entities included are engaged in commercial trade or services; 
  • The petitioner has an office in the United States that has been doing business for 1 year or more; 
  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and 
  • The petitioner and the other qualifying organizations have obtained approval of petitions for at least 10 “L” managers, executives, or specialized knowledge workers during the previous 12 months; or have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees. 
  • If your employer doesn’t have the qualifications above, then they are not eligible for blanket petitions and would need to file individual petitions for each transferring employee. The employer must also prove the following requirements of L1 Visa through supporting documents: 
  • The qualifying relationship between the U.S. company and the parent company either as a subsidiary, branch, or affiliate among others; 
  • The proof that you have worked full-time for the foreign company continuously for at least 1 year within the last 3 years before filing the petition; and 
  • The proof that you have worked as a specialized knowledge, manager or executive employee for a foreign company and will be assuming the same in the U.S. 

Canadians with an approved blanket petition seeking an L-1 classification may present the completed Form I-129S and other supporting documents to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at certain ports of entry at the U.S.-Canada land border or a U.S. pre-clearance or pre-flight inspection station in Canada. 

Transferring Employee Documents 

Once the USCIS approves the petition, your employer will be given an approval notice by way of  Form I-797. You would then need to submit your Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application). After that, you would need to schedule an interview with your home country’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you would need to submit the following documents: 

  • The visa interview appointment letter; 
  • The confirmation page of your Form DS-160; 
  • A copy of Form DS-160 and L supplement; 
  • The Form DS-160 application fee receipt; 
  • The receipt number of the Form I-129 petition along with a physical copy; 
  • A passport with a validity 6 months beyond the expiration of the L1 nonimmigrant status; 
  • Your resume or curriculum vitae; 
  • Two recent passport-size coloured photographs; 
  • A copy of the Form I-129 petition submitted to the USCIS; 
  • The Form I-797 petition approval from the USCIS; 
  • Records or certificates of educational training or degrees; 
  • Payment statements and income tax records; 
  • Job duties and description; 
  • An organisational chart that shows your position; 
  • Reference letters from your supervisors, colleagues, or from your previous employers indicating your employment history, experience and work skills; 
  • An employment authorization or verification letter from your employer; 
  • The board resolution or appointment documents that verify your transfer; 
  • Any other documents that prove your capability to conduct business in a managerial or executive capacity or any proof that you possess a specialized knowledge position. 

Please take note that sometimes, they will require a reciprocity fee depending on your nationality. The visa application necessarily includes different costs of L1 Visa and filing the correct fees is crucial, so it’s important to take note of it during your application. 

Risks of an L1 Visa Document Checklist 

Having an approved L-1 petition nor submitting all the supporting documents above, doesn’t guarantee visa issuance. The consular officer will determine if you’re qualified based on the documents on all documents and information submitted as well as your answers during the interview 

Please take note that the checklists above are not exhaustive Davies & Associates has a team of experienced L1 visa attorneys who can give you advice and help on which relevant documents you will need to submit depending on your circumstances. 

If the information you have provided is incomplete, your visa application may be needlessly delayed if not denied. Consular officers may ask for further information and documents before making the final decision on your application. 

Moreover, even though you have submitted complete supporting documents, you will still need to be interviewed by the consular officer. The interview will focus on more detailed questions relating to your employer, the U.S. company and your capacity or job duties. 

For those applying for an L-1B Visa, the questions will focus on how their specialized knowledge is crucial to the overall functions of the business. 

You can increase your chances of getting your visa approved by ensuring that all the relevant documents are correct and by answering interview questions honestly, openly and as articulately as possible. 


Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


US Visa Application

L-1 Filed by Sole Proprietorships

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) affirmed on October 20 via their Policy Alert (PA-2023-29), that a sole proprietorship cannot file an L-1 visa petition on behalf of its owner because the sole proprietorship does not exist as a distinct legal entity, separate from the owner. A sole proprietorship is a business in which an individual owns all the assets, owes all the liabilities, and operates the business in the individual’s personal capacity.

The L-1 intracompany transferee visa is a popular visa category utilized for the transfer of certain managerial, executive and specialized knowledge personnel from a foreign business to a related US business.

Existing USCIS policy provides that a sole proprietorship may not file an L-1 petition on behalf of its owner because there must be a separation between the employing entity and the beneficiary; a petition where the sole-proprietor owner and beneficiary are the same would be considered an impermissible self-petition. However, an L-1 can be filed by a sole proprietorship on behalf an eligible employee. For instance, an individual may be the sole proprietor of an entity abroad and also of one in the United States, and may transfer an eligible employee under the L-1A or L-1B classification to the US.

The Policy Alert further affirms the difference between a sole proprietorship and a self-incorporated petitioner (i.e., a corporation or a limited liability company with a single owner) in that the corporation or the single-member LLC is a separate and distinct legal entity from its owner, stockholder or member (unlike a sole preceptorship) and can therefore file an L-1 for that owner.


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


E-2 Visa approved for a Singaporean national during COVID-19

Blanket L1 Visa Petition Explained: Unlocking Business Opportunities

How does the L 1 Blanket Visa Petition work?

An L-1 blanket petition enables certain overseas companies to transfer multiple employees to the United States on an L-1 visa, a nonimmigrant visa, under a single petition, without having to file individual L-1 petitions for each qualified employee.  All foreign entities that the US petitioning company seeks to include are listed in the blanket petition, backed by documentary evidence of the qualifying relationship with each such entity.  An approved blanket petition confirms that a qualifying relationship exists between the US entity and the foreign company seeking to transfer the employee. The L-1 blanket simplifies and streamlines the process for multinational companies who frequently seek to transfer their managers, executives or specialized knowledge workers to the US.  The Blanket L petition similarly does not guarantee that the employees will get the visa, nor the L1 Visa validity.

An L1 Blanket petition is filed with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) using Form I-129.  Once it is approved, the eligible employee can apply for an L-1A or L-1B visa by scheduling and attending the visa interview at a US consulate.  Among the documents the employee will have to carry to the interview are L-1 Blanket petition approval, I-29S Form, Letter of Support detailing the transfer and nature of the US role and evidence of employment abroad. L-1 Blanket petitions will have an initial validity period of up to three years once approved.

Employer Eligibility Criteria – Commercial trade?

There are requirements that a petitioner and the qualifying foreign entities must meet to be eligible and qualified for an L1 blanket petition:

  • The petitioner and each of the entities included are engaged in commercial trade or services;
  • The petitioner has an office in the United States that has been doing business for 1 year or more;
  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and
  • The petitioner and the other qualifying organizations have obtained approval of petitions for at least 10 “L” managers, executives, or specialized knowledge workers during the previous 12 months; or have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million, or have a U.S. workforce of at least 1,000 employees.

Employee Eligibility Criteria

Whether the foreign professional employees are applying for an individual visa or under a blanket petition, they must still meet all the employee-related requirements individually.  The foreign national employees applying under an approved blanket petition must establish that he or she was employed abroad for 1 of the 3 years (prior to applying to the consulate) in either a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge category and will be employed in the US in either of these three categories.

If you are applying for an L1A Visa, you must prove managerial or executive position in the company. The specialized knowledge employee can stay in the USA for up to five years. He/she should be ready to enter the United States in an executive or managerial capacity involving specialized knowledge. To prove managerial or executive capacity, the petitioning employer must meet the following requirements in the blanket petitions

  1. The beneficiary employee was employed for at least one year out of the previous 3 years

On the other hand, the L1B Visa is a Specialized Knowledge Professional. The employees that have worked in a position requiring specialized knowledge will qualify for this visa. However, the future position of this employee must also be one in the Specialized Knowledge Professionals. The employer has to prove the employees possess specialized knowledge, and that the employee’s ability will be sufficient to contribute significantly in the role.

We discuss these criteria in L1 Visa USA page here at Davies & Associates.

Blanket Petition Advantages

There are several advantages of having an L-1 blanket petition: It saves you time as it streamlines the L-1 Visa application process, so you can transfer multiple employees quickly and efficiently;

  • It saves you money in the long run compared to filing individual applications;
  • It gives you flexibility in transferring several foreign employees to the U.S. office, allowing you ease in meeting and accomplishing other business needs and goals;
  • It gives you the chance to plan future transfers without the uncertainty that comes with individual visa applications for each transferring employee.

L-1 Blanket Validity

The L-1 blanket approval is valid initially for 3 years It can be extended indefinitely, but if the company doesn’t apply for an extension or if a renewal application is denied, the company must wait 3 years to apply for a new blanket petition.

Take note that a blanket petition approval does not guarantee that the employee will be granted an L-1A or L-1B visa as the employee will still have to prove his or her eligibility under the L regulations.

Professional employees may also transfer between related foreign entities that are denoted on the Blanket L Approval notice. They may transfer employees with explicit approval notice provided the transferred employee will have the same job duties.

Denial of L-1 Blanket Visa

Like L-1 visas under individual petitions, L-1 blanket visas can be denied due to various factors such as inadequate documentation, failure to prove managerial, executive or specialized knowledge duties, etc.  While a USCIS denial of an individual L-1 visa petition may be appealed, denials of an L-1 visa blanket applications by the consulate are not reviewable.   

L1 Individual Petition vs. Blanket Petition Approval notice

With an L-1 Transfer Visa, the company must file a petition every time they want to transfer an employee with the USCIS. On the other hand, with an L-1 blanket visa, the company can transfer multiple employees under just one petition. The blanket visa makes the process easier and less expensive by eliminating the need to file multiple petitions for each qualified employee. It is considered a rather flexible way to transfer employees to the USA.

FAQs

Is the definition for managerial, executive, and specialized knowledge employees the same for L-1 blanket visa petitions and individual petitions?

Yes, the definitions are still the same regardless if you’re applying under a blanket petition or an individual petition.

Can I bring my dependents with me to the U.S. on my L-1 visa?

Yes, the visa issued to your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 is the L-2 visa. Their period of stay would be for the same duration as yours. Moreover, your spouse can work in the U.S. without applying separately for an Employee Authorization Document (EAD) work authorization

Can I change or transfer jobs on an L-1 Visa?

You can change or transfer jobs on an L-1 Visa but only to a location with the same company or to a qualifying/related company in the U.S. The USCIS must be notified of any significant changes to your employment, which is usually done by way of an L-1 amended petition

Are there benefits to an L-1 blanket visa petition?

An L-1 blanket visa petition streamlines the transfer of employees from several months to a matter of days and weeks. It also eliminates the need to file individual petitions for each transferring employee.

What privileges can I enjoy on my L-1 Visa?

On your L-1 visa, you can work legally in the U.S. or stay until your visa expires, and travel freely in and out of the country. You can also avail of dependent visas for your spouse and unmarried children, or potentially apply for a green card through employment


Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


Investor Visa Application Price Increase

When is an L-1 Amendment Needed?

The L-1 visa is utilized for the intracompany transfer of qualified managerial and executive personnel and specialized knowledge workers from an overseas company to a related company in the United States. The key criteria of an L-1 are: (1) existence of a qualifying relationship between the foreign and US entity (the US entity should be a parent, subsidiary, affiliate or a branch of the foreign company); (2) the prospective L-1 employee should have worked in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity for the foreign employer for one continuous year in the three years preceding the L-1 petition filing; and (3) the transfer of the employee to the US should be for a similar managerial, executive or specialized knowledge position.

In the event that after the approval of an L-1 petition, there are significant changes pertaining to the qualifying relationship of the entities or the nature of the employee’s role in the US, an L-1 amended petition is required. The L-1 regulations mandate an amendment filing with the USCIS to reflect changes in approved relationships, additional qualifying organizations under a blanket petition or change in capacity of employment (i.e., from a specialized knowledge position to a managerial position). Also, any information which would affect the employee’s eligibility is likely to be considered material, warranting an amendment.

Some changes can be clearly considered as material. For example, if an L-1B employed as an Equipment Engineer, who primarily works on sophisticated and complex machinery is promoted to the position of a Senior Director where his main duties involve managing professional staff, such change would require an amendment. Similarly, changes in the ownership and control of the US petitioner after adjudication would typically require an amendment as these changes may constitute a material change in circumstances or represent new information.

More often than the above scenarios, situations come up where the L-1 employee would have to work primarily out of a different geographic location from what was listed on the petition. There is no clear-cut answer or specific guidance on this. Generally, a temporary change in work location with all other terms of employment remaining unchanged, is not considered material, requiring an amendment. But for example, if the change is long term and let’s say from one state to another, the safe approach would be to file an amendment. Employers should take into account the increased instances of unannounced site visits by USCIS officers in the recent years and the weigh the risk of a failed site inspection and a possible petition revocation.


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.


L1 Visa

L1 Study Cases

L-1A status for an Executive extended for another two years

Getting a new office L1-A Visa petition approved for an executive or manager does not automatically mean that he or she will get an extension of another two years. It is not a matter of right to get your status extended and it is certainly not a ministerial act on the part of USCIS to approve the petition. At the time of filing, the petitioner must prove that it can clearly elevate the beneficiary to a managerial or executive position. This means that USCIS will look into whether the petitioner has hired the right people to relieve the beneficiary from performing non-qualifying duties. This is why personnel planning in the business plan for new office L-1 Visa petitions is critical. Aside from this, both the foreign entity and the petitioning US entity must continue to meet all other requirements. 

 APPROVAL OF ANOTHER L-1A PETITION AN EXECUTIVE FROM INDIA

 
We filed an extension of L-1A Visa status petition on behalf of an executive from India. We worked with the Petitioner in getting the new office petition approved and now we have successfully obtained approval of the extension of status petition for an additional period of two years.

The beneficiary is an executive of a digital outdoor marketing agency, specializing in advertising via digital screens set in high traffic public areas, such as retail stores. The Company outsources the content creation and focuses primarily on digital screen setup and sales activities. 

As a multinational executive or manager, you can be transferred to the U.S. for a maximum period of 7 years. If the U.S. company has not been operational for more than a year, the company is eligible to file a new office petition for the transfer of the executive or manager for one year. Extensions can be granted in increments of 2 years until the maximum period of 7 years has been reached. Within the 7 year period, it is possible for the beneficiary to transition to become a permanent resident of the U.S. through the EB-1C Visa petition for a multinational executive or manager. 

L-1 PETITION APPROVALS – L-1A EXECUTIVE FROM INDIA AND L-1B SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE EMPLOYEE FROM ARMENIA


The first approval is for a specialized knowledge employee from Armenia. His petition for intracompany transfer as a Cloud Architect has been approved for 3 years. He is the third beneficiary under the L-1 Visa program to be transferred to the US company. We had previously secured approvals for two executives of the same company.

The second approval is for an executive from India, a VP for Engineering for an organization that provides cloud governance platform that empowers enterprises to increase top-line revenues, improve bottom-line efficiencies, and gain a competitive edge through AI-powered real-time cloud governance on autopilot. The beneficiary has been given three years as well. We had also obtained prior L and H-1B approvals for the U.S. company. 


Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world. 

This article has been written by Verdie J. Atienza, Esq., Senior Immigration Attorney, Head of E-2 and L-1 Visas Practice Team at Davies & Associates, New York Office.

Verdie J. Atienza is a Senior Attorney in charge of the firm’s L-1 and E-2 visa practice. He is a dual qualified lawyer in New York and in the Philippines and is qualified to practice immigration law in any state in the United States. 

 


Toàn cảnh buổi gặp gỡ và trao đổi về Visa L-1 và thuế Mỹ tại USIMI Group

Toàn cảnh buổi gặp gỡ và trao đổi về Visa L-1 và thuế Mỹ tại USIMI Group

Vào ngày 29/6/2023, CEO của hãng luật Davies & Cộng sự – Ông Mark Davies cùng với ông Tuấn La, CEO công ty Onekey đã có buổi gặp gỡ, trao đổi chuyên sâu cùng các nhà đầu tư tại Việt Nam quan tâm tới thị thực L-1.

Toàn cảnh buổi gặp gỡ và trao đổi về Visa L-1 và thuế Mỹ tại USIMI Group:

Trong buổi trao đổi, USIMI Group và ông Mark Davies đã chia sẻ về L1-visa:

Toàn cảnh buổi gặp gỡ và trao đổi về Visa L-1 và thuế Mỹ tại USIMI Group
Toàn cảnh buổi gặp gỡ và trao đổi về Visa L-1 và thuế Mỹ tại USIMI Group

“Đây là cách tốt nhất để sử dụng cho các nhà đầu tư muốn định cư tại Hoa Kỳ một cách nhanh chóng, chỉ trong vòng vài tháng”

Vậy L1 visa là gì? Mô hình đầu tư, việc làm nào thích hợp để kinh doanh tại Mỹ với L1 Visa? Điều kiện hồ sơ và cách thức tham gia Visa L-1 như thế nào? Hãy tham khảo thông tin chi tiết bên dưới:

Visa L1 là gì?

Thị thực L-1, hay còn được gọi là Visa L1, là một loại thị thực không di dân được sử dụng bởi các công ty để chuyển đổi nhân sự quản lý và điều hành từ các văn phòng liên kết, công ty con hoặc công ty mẹ ở nước ngoài đến làm việc tại văn phòng của công ty tại Mỹ.

Visa L1 thuộc nhóm visa làm việc của Mỹ và được xem như một loại visa không định cư (Non-Immigrant Visa), tương tự giấy phép lao động (Work Permit) ở Việt Nam.

Người được cấp visa L1 có quyền cư trú và làm việc hợp pháp tại Hoa Kỳ mà không cần phải có bất kỳ giấy phép lao động nào khác. Thời hạn tối đa của visa này là 7 năm.

Loại visa L1 chủ yếu dành cho doanh nhân và quản lý cấp cao của các công ty tại Việt Nam, những người có nhu cầu đến Mỹ để thực hiện các công việc kinh doanh và đầu tư, đồng thời mong muốn định cư lâu dài tại Mỹ.

Có bao nhiêu loại Visa L1?

Visa L1 bao gồm hai loại, phù hợp với hai đối tượng khác nhau:

  1. Visa L1-A là loại thị thực dành cho chủ doanh nghiệp tại Việt Nam và sở hữu công ty kinh doanh tại Mỹ, quản lý hoặc nhà điều hành cấp cao của công ty tại Việt Nam. Thời hạn của visa này có thể lên đến 7 năm.
  2. Visa L1-B là loại dành cho những chuyên viên có năng lực đặc biệt trong một ngành nghề cụ thể (Specialized Knowledge). Thời hạn của visa này cũng lên đến 7 năm.

Tại sao bạn nên lấy Visa L-1? Lời khuyên từ chuyên gia luật di trú của D&A:

Visa L1 có một số lợi ích đặc thù mà nhà đầu tư Việt Nam nên cân nhắc:

  • Đây là loại visa không có hạn ngạch tại Mỹ: không giống như một số loại thị thực khác, không có giới hạn số lượng thị thực được cấp hàng năm cho các quốc gia nhất định.
  • Thời gian xử lý nhanh: Thời gian xử lý trung bình từ 3-6 tháng. Bạn có thể sử dụng Yêu cầu Xử lý Đặc biệt bằng cách trả một khoản phí bổ sung là $ 2.500. Với quy trình xử lý đặc biệt, USCIS được yêu cầu trả lời cho đương đơn Visa L1 trong vòng 15 ngày làm việc.
  • Gia đình: Người có thị thực L1 được phép đưa vợ / chồng và con cái phụ thuộc của họ đến Hoa Kỳ theo thị thực L-2.
  • Quyền làm việc cho Vợ/Chồng: cho phép nộp đơn xin cấp phép làm việc khi họ vào Hoa Kỳ để làm việc cho bất kỳ chủ lao động nào tại Hoa Kỳ.
  • Lợi thế về thuế: Thị thực L1 là thị thực không di dân, nghĩa là không cung cấp quyền thường trú nhân (Thẻ xanh) cho người nộp đơn. Trong khi những người có Thẻ xanh có thể bị đánh thuế đối với thu nhập trên toàn thế giới, những người có thị thực không nhập cư nói chung thì không. (Tuy nhiên bạn vẫn nên tham khảo ý kiến của chuyên gia về thuế nếu bạn muốn đảm bảo rằng bạn sẽ không được coi là cư dân đóng thuế của Hoa Kỳ)
  • Chuyển đổi sang Thẻ xanh: có thể chuyển đổi sang Thẻ xanh thông qua loại thị thực L1A. Tiêu chí cho L1A rất giống với tiêu chí cho loại EB-1C, loại thị thực dành cho Nhà quản lý hoặc Giám đốc điều hành đa quốc gia, điều này giúp người có thị thực L1A trở thành thường trú nhân dễ dàng hơn. Loại L1 cũng được coi là thị thực có mục đích kép.

Đôi nét về USIMI Group:

Trong hơn 20 năm hoạt động, đội ngũ giàu kinh nghiệm cùng với đối tác, và cố vấn, luật sư giàu kinh nghiệm đã tham gia vào các Chương trình Đầu tư Định cư của chính phủ Mỹ. USIMI Group là một trong số ít trong ngành đã triển khai nhiều dự án đầu tư định cư uy tín và thành công. 

USIMI Group

Với kiến thức chuyên môn và kinh nghiệm EB-5, EB-3 và L-1 sâu rộng, USIMI-GROUP đã hoàn thiện hồ sơ nhanh chóng và đi đến thành công, tạo ra cơ hội đầu tư chất lượng.

Nhiệm vụ của USIMI Group là kết nối các nhà đầu tư với các dự án uy tín hàng đầu, nhằm đảm bảo cho Thẻ Xanh của cả gia đình nhà đầu tư.Website chính thức của USIMI Group: USIMI Group