What happens at the L1 visa interview?
Whether following approval of a blanket or regular L1 petition, employees seeking L1 status must attend an interview at which time their eligibility for the visa category will be determined.
The employee will have to appear for a visa interview at a US consular post abroad. Interview procedures vary widely among consular posts so it is important to carefully follow instructions provided for the post where the L1 interview will be held.
At the L1 visa interview a consular officer will ask the employee questions to confirm the information provided in the L1 petition about the applicant and his or her intended US employment. The employee will be notified of the decision made on the application at the end of the interview. Provided the application is approved the consular officer will retain the employee’s passport for visa stamping.
The passport with embossed L1 visa stamp will be returned to the employee within approximately one week of the interview. Once received the employee is permitted to travel to the US to work in L1 status in line with the employment described in the L1 petition.
What is the adjudication process for the L1 visa?
You submit the completed petition to USCIS for adjudication, for both standard or blanket visas.
If USCIS determine additional information or documentation is needed to make a decision, a request for additional information will be issued.
Requests will vary in length depending on the extent of information and documentation requested, but will inevitably result in a delay in a case decision. As such, it becomes critical through professional advice to ensure your application satisfies evidentiary requirements in the first instance.
Upon receipt of the requested information and documentation, USCIS will resume processing of the petition.
Processing times may vary depending on USCIS workload.
For an additional fee, you may request expedited ‘premium processing’ of a petition for adjudication by USCIS within 15 calendar days.
Note that if a request for additional evidence is issued on a petition filed using the premium processing service, USCIS will have an additional 15 calendar days from receipt of the response to adjudicate the case.
Is the L1 visa suitable for permanent or temporary transfers?
Permission under the L1 visa is temporary, for a maximum of 12 months. Extensions can be granted for up to a total of 7 years in 2-year increments.
How do I renew an L1 visa?
If an employee is performing an executive or managerial role in the United States, they will be allowed to spend seven years in the US in L1 status before they have to return abroad for at least one year before being granted L-1 status again.
If an employee is performing a specialized knowledge role in the United States, they will be allowed to spend five years in the US in L1 status before they have to return abroad for at least one year before being granted L1 status again.
What are the eligibility requirements for a company L1 Blanket petition?
To be eligible for a blanket petition a company must meet the following requirements:
- the filing company and its related companies must be engaged in commercial trade or services;
- the filing company must have an office in the US that has been doing business for one year or more;
- the filing company must have three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and
- the filing company and the other qualifying organizations must have obtained at least ten L-1 petition approvals during the previous twelve months; or have US subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or have a US workforce of at least 1,000 employees.
What is the application process for a company L1 Blanket petition?
In order for your company to obtain a Blanket L1 approval, it will be necessary for the filing company to provide the following documentation to demonstrate eligibility:
- evidence that the filing company meets the aforementioned eligibility requirements; and
- evidence that the filing company and the organizations included it is petition are qualifying organizations.
The completed Blanket L-1 petition must then be submitted to USCIS for adjudication.
Upon approval of the Blanket L petition, qualified employees can then go straight to a consular post to apply for an L-1A or L-1B visa to work for the US office. An employer is not required to file an individual petition at USCIS prior to the visa interview for Blanket L visa applicants.