In our 2006 report Review of Vulnerabilities and Potential Abuses of the L-1Visa Program (OIG-06-22, January 2006), we wrote: "One Southeast Asian visa section reported officers do not have the knowledge or the guidance necessary to determine whether such work involves specialized knowledge, except in the most clear cut cases." During this review, we determined that despite efforts to implement guidance that has been provided, confusion about the application of specialized knowledge still results in inconsistent adjudications.
The Report recommends:
Publish new guidance to clarify the USCIS interpretation of specialized knowledge. This guidance should be sufficiently explicit to give adjudicators an improved basis for determining whether employees of a petitioning entity possess specialized knowledge.
AAO Reverses L-1 Denial Based on Qualifying Relationship
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 00:00
The AAO reversed the L-1 petition denial and found the petitioner only needed to document that the transfer of ownership interest between the foreign entity and existing owner occurred, noting that USCIS's focus on the purchase price was misplaced. Read the details (pdf).[Courtesy- AILA]
USCIS Announces New Filing Option on Behalf of Canadian TN & L-1 Nonimmigrants
Thursday, 04 October 2012 00:00
Beginning October 1, 2012, USCIS will begin accepting the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of Canadian citizens who are outside the United States and seeking classification as a TN nonimmigrant.
New Proposed Rule Will Offer Longer L-1 Validity Periods based on Reciprocity Schedules
Thursday, 02 February 2012 00:00
Why is the Department promulgating this rule?
Current Department regulations require that L visa duration be limited to the validity period of the petition, which, under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, cannot exceed three years. Petitioners may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for extension of petition validity in increments of up to two years, but the total period of stay may not exceed five years for aliens employed in a specialized knowledge capacity or seven years for aliens employed in a managerial or executive capacity. The Department is changing this regulation to delink visa and petition validity periods, as currently required by 22 CFR 41.54(c), “Validity of visa”. As a result, L visa validity will be governed by 22 CFR 41.112, which provides that, except
as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of that section, a nonimmigrant visa shall have the validity prescribed in schedules provided to consular officers by the Department, which reflect the reciprocal treatment the applicant’s country accords U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents or aliens granted refugee status in the United States. The change would benefit beneficiaries of petitions for L status who are nationals of countries for which the reciprocity schedule prescribes visa validity for a longer period of time than the initial validity indicated in the petition approved by DHS and who have extended their L stay while in the United States. Subject to 22 CFR 41.112(c), such individuals generally would not need to again apply for an L visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas if they were to travel outside the United States during the period indicated in the applicable reciprocity schedule, as is currently required when petition validity has been extended.
This does not change the period for India which happens to be one of the largest users of the L Visa category. According to the DOS website, the following reciprocity applies for India.
60 Months 1
60 Months 1
1.The validity of H-1 through H-3, L-1, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.
Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.
L-1 Fee Increase with Immediate Effect (8/20/10)
Friday, 20 August 2010 00:00
On Aug. 13, 2010, President Obama signed into law Public Law 111-230, which contains provisions to increase certain H-1B and L-1 petition fees. Effective immediately, Public Law 111-230 requires the submission of an additional fee of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after Aug. 14, 2010, and will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2014.
These additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States with more than 50 percent of its employees in the United States in H-1B or L (including L-1A, L-1B and L-2) nonimmigrant status. Petitioners meeting these criteria must submit the fee with an H-1B or L-1 petition filed:
1. Initially to grant an alien nonimmigrant status described in subparagraph (H)(i)(b) or (L) of section 101(a)(15), or 2. To obtain authorization for an alien having such status to change employers.
USCIS is in the process of revising the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), and instructions to comply with Public Law 111-230. To facilitate implementation of Public Law 111-230, USCIS recommends that all H-1B, L-1A and L-1B petitioners, as part of the filing packet, include the new fee or a statement of other evidence outlining why this new fee does not apply. USCIS requests that petitioners include a notation of whether the fee is required in bold capital letters at the top of the cover letter. Where USCIS does not receive such explanation and/or documentation with the initial filing, it may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to determine whether the petition is covered by the public law.
An RFE may be required even if such evidence is submitted, if questions remain. The additional fee, if applicable, is in addition to the base processing fee, the existing Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, and any applicable American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee, needed to file a petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), as well as any premium processing fees, if applicable.
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