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Extension or Renewal Process of an L-1 Visa

L-1 visa holders get a maximum period of 5 or 7 years depending on the specific classification.  Under the L-1A classification for managers or executives, the permissible stay in the US is a maximum of 7 years, whereas on an L-1B which is reserved for specialized knowledge workers, the maximum is 5 years. An L-1 Visa extension can only be filed by your employer, and the extension petition has to be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiry of  your existing I-94.  The I-94 which is issued by the US Customs and Border Protection upon your entry in the US in L-1 status dictates the length of your stay in the US (The length of stay is generally tied to the validity period of your existing approved L-1 petition)

To be able to extend your L-1 status in the US, you need to essentially satisfy the same criteria as applicable to the initial/earlier L-1 petition, such as providing proof of employment either as an executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee by the related foreign company, parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the U.S. company for 1 year out of 3 years before you entered the US in L-1 status.

Period of Stay on an L-1 Visa

If the L-1 petition for foreign worker is filed for an established business in the US (i.e., business that’s been in operation for at least more than one year), the employee is initially granted a stay in the US for 3 years. Meanwhile, if the L-1 petition was filed for you to come to the U.S. to set up a new office, your initial stay is only for 1 year.

An L-1. Visa application can be divided into two categories: the L-1A Visa and the L-1B Visa.

The L-1A Visa is for employees who are working as an executive or manager in a qualifying company for at least 1 out of 3 years preceding the filing of the L-1 petition and will be working as a manager or executive with a U.S. brand, affiliate, or subsidiary of the same company. This L-1 status may be extended in increments of 2 years, subject to a maximum permissible period of 7 years.

Meanwhile, the L-1B Visa is for a specialized knowledge worker working in a qualifying company for at least 1 out of 3 years before they arrive in the U.S. to work in a qualifying relationship in a similar specialized knowledge capacity.L-1B status can be extended in increments of 2 years, subject to a maximum permissible period of 5 years.

When is the time to apply for an extension

You would need to apply to extend your status in the United States  before the expiry date listed on your most recent Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record which usually will coincide with the expiry date of your L-1 petition.

Your petition doesn't need to be approved before your status expires, what matters is your petition is properly filed with the USCIS before your status expiration date.

Duration for New Offices and Existing Offices

From a procedural standpoint, another factor that determines the maximum duration amount of your L-1 Visa is whether you're applying for an L-1 Visa as a new office or as an existing office.

An L-1 Visa is initially granted for 3 years with 2-year extensions for both the L-1A and L-1B Visa. However, if the L-1 petition is approved for a new office, the approval will have a one year validity with 2-year extensions available at the end of the one- year period.

If you have reached your 5-year or 7-year limit, you must be outside of the U.S. for at least 1 year before you can reapply for an L-1 Visa.

Regular and Blanket Visa Extensions

There are two major categories of L-1 Visa extensions: regular and blanket visa extensions.

A regular visa extension refers to an application and approval for each employee beneficiary. Meanwhile, a blanket visa extension refers to a petition filed for visa extensions for multiple employees at a time.

To qualify for an L-1 blanket extension, the employer must have a minimum of 1, 000 employees, must have obtained L-1 visas for at least 10 foreign employees, and must have a combined revenue of no less than $25 million USD.

L-1 Visa Extension Processing Time

There are several factors which affect the extension processing time. One factor may be the service centre processing your renewal. The average time for the renewal processing time is 6 months, but it could go for 8 months or more in some cases.

This applies to both L-1 Visa extensions as they all entail filing the same I-129 petition.

L-1 Visa Premium Processing

If you want to accelerate your application process, you can pay the premium processing fee. Once you've chosen this option, your petition will be processed within 15 calendar days for the amount of $2,500 USD.

However, take note that even if you choose this option, there's no guarantee that your application will be approved. It only guarantees that your petition will be processed within 15 calendar days. If your petition gets rejected, you will get a refund.

L-1 Visa Extension Fees

The government filing fees applicable to an L-1 extension that are borne by the  employer areI-129 Application - $460 USD

  • Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee - $500 USD

The premium processing fee can be paid by you or your employer, which may be available to you depending on your circumstances.

Meanwhile, L-2 dependent extension filings require a fee of USD 370.

Extension beyond the 5-year and 7-year limits

If you're in L-1 status, you are given a maximum period of 5 years on an L-1B or 7 years on an L-1A The period spent outside of the U.S. does not count toward the 5-year or 7-year calculation. Any period, which is at least 1 full day, spent outside the U.S. is eligible to be recaptured, meaning it can be added back to the total 7 year or 5 total period of stay. You have to provide evidence proving your time spent outside of the U.S. such as boarding passes or flight confirmations among others. Your dependents under the L-2 Visa category are also eligible to recapture the time they spent outside of the U.S.

Here at  Davies & Associates, we have experts in immigration law who can help you ensure that you have the best chance of being granted an L-1 Visa extension.

Change of status

If you didn't spend time outside of the U.S. for the duration of your L-1 Visa, there might be other options to continue to remain in the US lawfully. You may file a change of status from L-1 to another non-immigrant status during the validity of your L-1 status (i.e. until the expiry of your I-94). This process is handled within the U.S.

One non-immigrant option you can consider is an E-2 Visa, which allows you to live and work in the U.S. based on investing in a U.S. business. You may also opt for an O-1 Visa which is available for people with an extraordinary ability in a certain area, allowing you to live in the U.S. and work in your area of extraordinary ability.

Extension for L-2 Visa dependents

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of L-1 Visa holders can stay with them in the U.S. under the L-2 Visa based on their L-1 nonimmigrant status. Previously, spouses need an Employment Authorization Document to work. You may also check further details about spouses working on an L-1 Visa in our article  here.

If you have family members on the L-2 Visa, they will also need to extend their visas if they want to remain with you in the U.S. Since their L-2 Visa is dependent on your L-1 Visa, their permission to stay in the U.S. is tied to your L-1 expiry 

To extend an L-2 Visa, a Form I-539 petition must be filedeither:

  1. with your I-129 petition

  2. by itself, including a copy of the receipt notice of your I-129 petition; or

  3. by itself, including the approval notice for your I-129 petition.

The I-539 petition must be received by the USCIS before the expiration of the L-2 status.

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Eranjan Venura Parua
Eranjan Venura Parua
2 months ago

"After finding D&A through an internet search in 2020, my wife and I had several free consultations with David Cantor. Despite our initial attempt at filing for our E2 visa independently ending in failure, we decided to hire D&A for their expertise and support. Over the course of four long years, Verdie and Cristina were incredibly patient as we took our time to prepare for the E2 submission. Verdie became our E2 Attorney in 2021, and from the start, Verdie and Cristina's patience was evident. Despite our intermittent engagement over the years, they always treated us with the utmost attention. Working with Verdie and the D&A team was a pleasure; their professionalism and support were unwavering. Verdie's calm demeanor and succinct communication style made navigating the process much smoother, even during complex discussions. I wholeheartedly recommend Verdie and D&A - Davies & Associates, to anyone seeking an immigration law firm who can efficiently handle their case with precision and without unnecessary fanfare. Their ability to get things done speaks volumes about their dedication to their clients' success."

Jeremy Abernathy
Jeremy Abernathy
4 months ago

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad
Saeed Muhammad
5 months ago

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satyabrat Chowdhury
Satyabrat Chowdhury
8 months ago

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Christine Envall
Christine Envall
a year ago

Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.

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