Clarification on Blanket L-1s Filed Before June 6, 2005

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a clarification regarding employees entering the U.S. under blanket L-1 (intracompany transferee) petitions. The L-1 is appropriate for a multinational company with at least one office in the U.S. and one abroad, for which the U.S. operation temporarily needs to bring employees from the foreign office. The blanket L-1 is, essentially, for larger multinational companies. The DOS clarified that it remains possible to bring in L-1 employees who have worked for the foreign company for only six months, if they are entering under a blanket L-1 that was initially filed prior to June 6, 2005.

This clarification was needed because of changes in the law, under the L-1 Visa Reform Act that applies to cases filed after June 6, 2005. These changes were reported in our July 1, 2005 MurthyBulletin article, L-1 Reform Act Implemented, available on MurthyDotCom. Under the Reform Act, all L-1 employees must have worked for at least one year out of the previous three years for the company abroad before entering the U.S. for the foreign-affiliated company. Before this change, the one-year requirement applied to all L-1s except for those entering under a blanket L-1. For blanket L-1s, the requirement was reduced to six months. The June 2005 law expanded this one-full-year requirement to all L-1s, including those entering under blanket L-1s. Thus, all L-1 petitions are now subject to the one-full-year requirement, except those who enter on a blanket L-1 filed prior to June 6, 2005.

The DOS indicated that the USCIS is in agreement with this policy. The interpretation, therefore, should be uniform so that one entering the United States on an L-1 visa should be issued the visa stamp abroad and should not be delayed by the CBP Inspector at the airport.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.