USCIS has issued policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify how it handles L-1 petitions for intracompany transferees filed by a sole proprietor and blanket petitions.
What is L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa?
The L-1 nonimmigrant visa enables a U.S. employer that is part of a qualifying organization to temporarily transfer employees from one of its related foreign offices to locations in the United States.
- The L-1A classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
- The L-1B classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
Guidance on Sole Proprietor
The Policy Manual update clarifies that an L-1 petition where the owner and beneficiary are the same constituents an impermissible self-petition. That is, a sole proprietorship may not file an L-1 petition on behalf of its owner. This is because the sole proprietorship does not exist as a distinct legal entity separate and apart from the owner.
Still, the update distinguishes the above practice from a self-incorporated petitioner (i.e., a corporation or a limited liability company with a single owner) where the corporation or the single member limited liability company is a separate and distinct legal entity from its owner. In that case, as a distinct legal entity, such a petitioner may petition for that owner.
Guidance on Blanket Petitions
Certain organizations may establish the required intracompany relationship in advance of filing individual L-1 petitions by filing a blanket petition. International organizations file blanket L-1 petitions on behalf of all individual entities named in the petition.
USCIS is updating policy guidance to clarify that the failure to timely file an extension of the blanket petition does not trigger the 3-year waiting period before another blanket petition may be filed.
For the USCIS’ original announcement, please visit here.