Today, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum that provides guidance to field adjudicators on things to consider while adjudicating an L-1B petition. Specifically, the new L-1B Adjudications Policy is meant to consolidate previous policy memoranda as well as supersede and rescind, in part, prior memoranda.
As way of background, the L-1B nonimmigrant visa allows U.S. employers to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the company from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the U.S.
Generally, both the employer and employee have to demonstrate that they qualify for the visa. Specifically, the employer must show that (i) it has a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (subsidiary, parent company, affiliate, etc.), and (ii) the U.S. employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying affiliate will continue to do business for as long as the L-1B beneficiary remains in the U.S. Similarly, in order to the employee to qualify for L-1B employment, the employee must have been working for the foreign entity abroad for one continuous year within the last 3 years immediately before coming to the U.S., and be coming to U.S. to provide services in a position that requires the employee’s specialized knowledge.
Over the last few years, USCIS has considerably restricted the number of L-1B visas being issued without much oversight. The end result has been that employers have been coming up against roadblocks trying to make sense of USCIS’s decisions denying L-1B visa petitions without much luck. The release of this interim guidance, however, is a hopeful development of L-1B sponsoring employers. Employers can obtain a copy of the interim policy memorandum here. Continue to check back with us for updates on the status of this policy memorandum.
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