Multinational corporations and other eligible employers may be able to file the L1 visa blanket petition, so long as a number of requirements are met. Any employee currently employed with the petitioner can file – it doesn’t have to be the owner or principal. There are two types of L1 visa blanket petitions: the L-1A (meant for an executive or management-level employee) and the L-1B (meant for a professional with highly specialized skills or knowledge). The term to renewal is the same regardless of which petition type is filed. To learn more about L-1A or L-1B visas, begin by reviewing our informational pages:
- L-1A Visa Requirements
- L-1A Visa Frequently Asked Questions
- L-1B Visa Requirements
- L-1B Visa Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: Any petitioning company that plans to assign the new employee offsite with another company may be rendered ineligible through provisions outlined in the L-1 Visa Reform Act.
The Advantages of the L1 Visa Blanket Petition
The L1 Visa Blanket Petition offers filing companies or corporations a number of advantages. These include a reduction in the overall time spent in processing from start to finish, and the filer only has to prove that they are eligible once, at the start of the petition process.
Other advantages for the employee include a reduced burden of proof for eligibility, which must be done only at the U.S. Consulate in their home country and not through UCSIS. One of the main advantages for both employer and prospective employee is that an employer can quickly bring on new employees under the blanket petition, even in the event that certain employees included under the petition are not approved.
Once the employer is approved to file an L1 Visa Blanket Petition, the next step is to complete Form I129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition) and have it sent to the prospective employee, being sure to also include a copy of the employer’s eligibility verification (Form I-797). The employer should also be sure to include any other documents that may be required in this package. The employee will then present the packet sent from the employer to the U.S. Consulate locally. This enables the employee to obtain an L-1 Visa stamp in their passport.
More About Eligibility for an L1 Visa Blanket Petition
Under certain conditions, an employer may seek eligibility not just for itself (parent company) but for other entities that fall under its wing, such as affiliates, subsidiaries, branches, etc. In order to seek eligibility for the full group, a petition must meet these conditions:
- They must each and all together be doing business in commercial services/trade.
- They must have established business residency in the U.S. through an office that has been open for 12+ months.
- They must have a total employee network of 1,000 or more employees, or they must have combined U.S. sales of $25+ million, or they must have previously received approval for a minimum of 10 L-level managers/executives or specialists through an L1 Visa Blanket Petition in the preceding 12 months.
Option to File an Individual Petition
There is also an option to file individually for each prospective employee versus filing an L1 Visa Blanket Petition. What is important to realize here is that the employee can only be brought in one way – through an individual petition or through a blanket petition. Only if the U.S. Consulate first denies one type of petition can the second then be filed.
For a filing entity who wishes to file individually after obtaining an L classification, they must disclose this information prior to filing an individual petition. They must also affirm that their petitioner (proposed employee) will not file under a blanket petition after filing an individual petition. Here, the proposed employer will represent the organization to UCSIS, where the blanket petition files will be stored.
NOTE: In this instance, the L-1B (blanket petition) is a filing option only if the petitioner is a professional with specialized knowledge. For a non-professional possessing specialized knowledge, the individual L1 petition must be used instead.
Submitting Documents Towards an L1 Visa Petition
The employer must submit verification of eligibility for the L1 Visa Blanket Petition in writing, along with additional information and a number of required forms. Here is what must be submitted by your attorney:
- The Form I-797 (this shows the approval).
- Whatever documentation (annual report, petition statement towards annual sales) may be required to show at least $25 million in annual combined sales.
- Documentation showing the employee network (annual report, payroll, petition statement) to be at least 1,000 employees.
- Documentation that all affiliates, branches, subsidiaries, et al are also eligible as “qualifying organizations” to bring in employees under the blanket visa.
- Any and all founding/bio information about the company (annual report, website URL, advertising and marketing items, et al).
- The entity’s tax ID number as a U.S.A. employer.
- Recent (within the past 12 months) sales figures: net and gross.
- Number of employees (nationwide, worldwide).
Fees for Filing the L1 Visa Blanket Petition
In addition to all of the required documentation, the employer must pay certain fees depending on the nature and urgency of the petition. Here are the fees that may apply during filing:
- $325 standard filing fee.
- $1,225 expedited filing fee.
- $500 fraud fee (for fraud detection/prevention).
All fees are required as may be applicable to an employer’s specific situation. Make fees payable to the “Department of Homeland Security.” Check (personal or corporate) or money order are all acceptable payment methods, but each fee must be paid for separately.
NOTE: The $500 fraud fee (for fraud detection/prevention) must be paid once at the time of initial petition filing, and again on behalf of each approved employee when approval is granted and visas are issued.
L1 Visa Blanket Petition Processing
Only entities approved under the original petition may bring in non-resident employees under the L1 blanket petition. If it is desired for new entities to be added, the employer can file what is called an “amended blanket petition.”
Where to File
The L1 Visa Blanket Petition must be filed locally in the place (jurisdiction, service center) where the new employee(s) will be stationed.
NOTE: The L1 Visa Blanket Petition maintains a focus on the filing employer(s) and not on the proposed employees.
L1 Visa Blanket Petition Validity and Extension
Each blanket petition has a 36-month validity window. Petitions can be granted indefinitely. UCSIS can deny an extension at any time, whether extension petitions are filed in time or not. For the incoming employee, the change in status or admission to the U.S.A. must be applied for during the 36-month window when the blanket visa is valid, but it may extend past the termination of the initial 36 months.
Always Work With A Legal Professional
Pursuing any type of L visa is a complicated process that should be handled by a legal professional. The immigration attorneys at Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC have extensive experience managing all types of L1 visas, L2 visas and L1 visa blanket petitions.
Set Up a Consultation!
Our firm offers consultations by phone or at our offices to help you understand your situation and options before you make a decision. To learn more about our services or to discuss your case, call our office or contact our immigration attorneys online to schedule your consultation today.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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