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Blanket L1 Visa: A Comprehensive Guide

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What’s an L-1 blanket visa?

An L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows an employer to transfer a qualified employee to a U.S. branch office, subsidiary, or parent company. Meanwhile, an L1 blanket visa is a single petition which allows a foreign company to transfer several foreign employees to the U.S. without the need to file separate individual petitions.

Once the L1 blanket petition has been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the petitioning employer would need to complete Form I-129S and send it to the transferring employee along with the L1 blanket petition approval notice. The applicant would then need to show these documents to the consular officer in their home country’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

How does an L-1 blanket visa work?

The L-1 blanket petition allows an employer to transfer foreign national employees holding a managerial or executive position or are specialized knowledge professionals to the U.S. without filing individual applications.

Once the blanket L petition has been approved, the employer would need to complete Form I-129S which they would send to the transferring employee together with the blanket L approval notice. The transferring employee can apply for a visa for their dependent family members such as their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.

Please take note that a blanket petition doesn’t mean automatic approval for an L1 visa. You can consult with an experienced and qualified L1 visa attorney who can guide you throughout the application and increase the chances of getting approved.

Advantages

There are several benefits that you can enjoy by opting for a blanket petition, and we have highlighted them below:

Expedited process. The blanket petition expedites the L1 visa process by allowing employers to transfer employees under a single petition, especially since individual applications take time to process. The blanket petition already establishes the eligibility of the petition employer.

Reduced costs. The blanket petition allows the employer to save money from filing individual petitions for transferring professional employees.

Transfer flexibility. Employers eligible for a blanket L1 petition are freer to transfer employees between foreign branches to U.S. offices, which allows them greater ease in conducting business and addressing any business needs or accomplishing goals. This also allows the employer to plan future transfers without the uncertainty associated with individual petitions.

Disadvantages

Eligibility criteria. Before an employer could transfer employees under an L1 blanket petition, there an eligibility criteria that they must meet about business size, structure, and operations.

Slow initial approval. The process can be time-consuming when obtaining an initial approval for the blanket petition.

Transferred employee eligibility. Individual employees must still meet the eligibility criteria for an L1 visa, specifically, one must be a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge professional.

Reliance on company status. Once the company’s circumstances or status change, they may no longer qualify for a blanket petition and they will revert back to filing individual petitions.

Eligibility criteria for L-1 blanket visa

Before an employer can transfer a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge employee under the L1 blanket petition, there are requirements that the petitioning employer and the transferring employee must meet.

Employer Eligibility

Physical premises and doing business. The employer must already have physical premises in the U.S. for at least a year. Moreover, they must be already doing business in the U.S. for at least a year, which means they must be engaged in commercial trade of goods or services.

Required number of branches, affiliates, or subsidiaries. The employer must have at least 3 domestic or foreign affiliates, branches, or subsidiaries at the time of filing the blanket petition.

Fulfill at least one requirement regarding workforce, sales, or number of L1 petitions. The employer is required to fulfil at least one of the following requirements to be eligible for an L1 blanket petition:

Must have a minimum of 1, 000 U.S. employees

Must have combined annual sales of at least $25 million

Must have received approval for at least 10 L1 petitions in the past 12 months.

Individual Eligibility

The transferring employee must meet all the requirements to qualify for an L1 visa. They must be employed in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity for at least a year before the L1 visa application. Moreover, the employee must be working in a similar capacity in the U.S. branch office, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company.

To be employed in an executive capacity means that the employee directs the management of the company and makes decisions at their own discretion while receiving only general supervision from the board of directors or the shareholders. Meanwhile, a manager is someone who oversees the work of other supervisory employees and has the authority to hire and fire employees.

Specialized knowledge employees, on the other hand, are those who have unique and advanced knowledge of the company’s management, techniques, products, services, and equipment among others.

L-1 blanket visa requirements for U.S.-based petitioner

There are requirements that the U.S.-based petitioner must meet to qualify for a blanket L1 petition.

Qualifying relationship. The U.S.-based petitioner must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company either as a branch office, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company.

Currently doing business as an employer. The U.S.-based petitioner must be currently or will be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least another country either directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the transferring employee’s stay in the U.S.

L-1 blanket visa validity

The L1 blanket visa is valid for 3 years after the approval, which can be extended indefinitely by the company. If the company fails to apply for an extension or if an application for renewal is denied, it must wait for 3 years before applying for another blanket petition.

Please take note that an L1 blanket visa doesn’t guarantee that an L1 visa will be approved. The consular officer will still see to it that each employee satisfies the requirements of the visa. This is why it’s highly recommended that you engage the services of US immigration lawyers who can help you navigate through the L1 visa application process.

L-1 visa extensions and renewals

The L1 visa is valid for an initial of 3 years for both L-1A and L-1B visa holders. It can be extended up to a maximum of 7 years for L-1A visa holders, and up to a maximum of 5 years for L-1B visa holders.

L-1 blanket visa rejection

There are times, however, that the USCIS may reject your application for an L1 whether it’s filed as an individual or blanket petition. Reasons may include the following:

  • Failure to meet the requirements for transferring employee

  • Failure to file the right documents and forms or improperly filing them

  • The inability of the employer to present evidence of their business growth

  • Mismatch of job duties and title

  • The job position doesn’t meet the specialized knowledge, managerial, or executive position criteria.

The L1 blanket petition can be denied in part if some organizations under the petitioner meet the requirements while some fail to do so.

L-1 individual visa petition vs. blanket petition

An individual L1 visa petition means that the petitioning employer must file a petition each time they want to transfer an employee to a qualified U.S. company or organization. As compared to a blanket L1 petition, the employer can transfer multiple employees under a single petition. This eliminates the need to file several individual petitions for each transferring employee.

Once the blanket petition has been approved, the employer can transfer employees quickly and on short notice by using the approved blanket petition, Form I-129S and other supporting documents.

What happens next after acquiring an L-1 visa?

After acquiring your L1 visa, there are certain things you must consider such as your living conditions in the U.S. If you have filed an application for your dependent family members such as your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21, you must also take them into account with your plans.

Once you have settled in the U.S., you may need to renew or extend your L1 visa as necessary. An experienced and qualified L1 visa lawyer can help you through this so you can spend and focus your time on your work or providing for your family.

FAQs

What is the status given to my dependent family members?

For the dependent family members of an L1 visa holder, they are issued an L2 visa. These dependent family members include the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the L1 visa holder.

Can my spouse work in the U.S.?

Yes, your spouse can work without the need to secure an employment authorization document as a USCIS policy update has provided that they are already considered employment authorized through their L status.

Are there any limitations to an L1 visa?

Yes, like with other visas, there are limitations attached to an L1 visa. First, you can only work for the U.S. employer who sponsored your visa. You can transfer between related companies that are listed on the blanket L1 approval notice. Additionally, the visa is initially valid for 3 years which can be extended in 2 year increments until it reaches the maximum period.

Can I transfer to another job on an L1 blanket visa?

Yes, but the USCIS must be notified of any change in your employment status.

Can the L1 blanket petition approval be extended?

Yes, the L1 blanket petition approval can be extended indefinitely provided that the company still qualifies.

Jeremy Abernathy

9 January 2024

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad

15 December 2023

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satya Choudhury

20 September 2023

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Hoshino Ryuichi

12 September 2023

Thanks to them for handling my E2 visa very professionally. I had a study visa from F1 and changed it to E2. I encountered many problems during the application process. Verdie and Etta were very patient in helping me and it took a long time. I highly recommend this place.

Mark I. Davies
Mark I. Davies
Dual qualified as a lawyer in the United States and the United Kingdom, Mark I. Davies is the Global Managing Partner and founder of our firm. Mark also Chairs our Global Business and Investor visa team and focuses his practice on EB5, L1, E2 and other business and investor visa solutions. A former General Counsel, Mark is relied on as primary counsel to major corporations, investors, non-profits and businesses of all sizes.

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