In 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designated four decisions of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) as “adopted decisions.” An adopted decision constitutes binding policy on the USCIS and all of its employees. In this article, we will review each of these decisions and provide brief summaries along with links to the corresponding articles.
The L1A visa is for intracompany transferee managers and executives. It allows a person working as an executive or manager for an overseas company to procure nonimmigrant status to work at a related company in the USA in a managerial or executive capacity. An L1A beneficiary may also be brought to the USA to open a “new office.” The L1A visa application process requires the petitioner to provide evidence pertaining to the beneficiary’s foreign employment and the type of work that he or she would do in the USA. Most L1A beneficiaries will be granted an initial maximum stay of 3 years (1 year for new offices). L1A beneficiaries may be granted extensions of stay in 2-year increments for up to 7 years in the aggregate. A spouse or child may be eligible for an L1A dependent visa (L2).
Most adjustment of status applicants are required to obtain a grant of advance parole prior to departing the United States in order for the adjustment of status application to not be abandoned. However, in recognition of the fact that both the H-1 (H1) and L-1 (L1A and L1B) nonimmigrant visa categories recognize dual intent, in that it is permissible to apply for adjustment of status and remain in the United States on lawful H or L status, the rules regarding travel and H1 and L1 status are unique.
The primary nonimmigrant classification for investors and entrepreneurs is the E-2 (E2) Treaty Investors classification. However, provided that the requirements are met, an alien seeking to enter the United States as an investor or entrepreneur may instead apply for an H-1B (H1B), L-1 (L1A or L1B), or O-1 (O1) visa. This is especially important for investors and entrepreneurs who are not nationals of a treaty country in order to qualify for an E2 visa. However, because the H1B, L1, and O1 classifications all require an “employer-employee relationship” both in order to obtain a visa and to maintain status, investors and entrepreneurs may have difficulty meeting the requirements for those classifications where they have a significant ownership stake in the petitioning entity. This article will address special considerations for investors and entrepreneurs seeking to obtain one of those three nonimmigrant employment visas.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows for a citizen of Canada to present a completed L1 visa petition to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in lieu of having the petition filed in advance with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center. This allows the petition to be adjudicated in conjunction with an application for admission. A Canadian citizen who is admitted in L1 status through this procedure will be admitted without having to obtain an L1 visa.
This article will provide an overview of the requirements for eligibility for an L1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge Visa. The article will discuss eligibility requirements specific to the L1B (L-1B) visa, situations that may arise when an L1B beneficiary is working offsite from the petitioning employer, and rules for maintenance of and/or change or adjustment from L1B status.
On April 14, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designated as an adopted decision the Administrative Appeals Office’s decision in the Matter of Z-A-, Inc., Adopted Decision 2016-02 (AAO Apr. 14, 2016). The Matter of Z-A-, Inc., deals with determining when the beneficiary of an L1A petition will “primarily manage an essential function” of the petitioning employer. The decision sets forth that the USCIS must weigh all of the relevant factors in the case, including, if applicable, evidence of the beneficiary’s role within the wider qualifying international organization. Specifically, the adoption of the decision establishes that in certain cases, the USCIS may be required to consider evidence presented by a petitioner of personnel employed by a related entity within the qualifying organization who perform day-to-day non-managerial tasks for the petitioning entity. In this article, we will review the facts of the underlying case and the broader effect of the new policy guidance on similar determinations in the L1A adjudications context.
This article will provide an overview of the requirements for eligibility for an L1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager Visa, and explain what the petitioning entity and the L1A beneficiary must do in order for the beneficiary to remain in L1A status.
Certain qualifying petitioners are eligible to file an L1 visa blanket petition, wherein the petitioner may apply for blanket approval of many L1A and L1B visa beneficiaries. These articles will explain the eligibility requirements for L blanket petitions and the L blanket petition procedure.
The L1 nonimmigrant visa category is for intracompany transferees. A qualifying organization (for L1 purposes) may petition to transfer an employee from overseas to a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in the United States. There are two categories for beneficiaries. L1A visas are for persons who will work in a managerial or executive capacity and L1B visas are for those who will work in a capacity that involves “specialized” knowledge. In addition, certain relatives of L1 visa beneficiaries may be eligible for derivative L2 visas. This article will provide an overview of general requirements for L1 and L2 petitions.