Better way to obtain L visa?

Q: Is there a quicker and perhaps cheaper way to obtain L-1 visa status for overseas employees than by filing with USCIS? With the premium processing fees, the burdensome requests for additional evidence we too often receive, and the waiting time to get an appointment overseas for a visa stamp, it can sometimes take a few months to bring a necessary employee over.

A: If your company meets certain requirements, it may file a “blanket petition” with USCIS. Once the blanket for the company is approved, the company does not have to petition for this sponsorship with USCIS, but rather applies directly with a U.S. consulate abroad. This process saves the company both time and money, because the company is avoiding some of the USCIS filing fees (including premium processing), and now can have foreign employees apply directly at foreign U.S. consulates without prior USCIS approval. Another benefit of the blanket procedure is any affiliate/subsidiary of the parent company may be included, facilitating transfers between different companies in the United States after the foreign national arrives. Once a blanket is issued, it is valid initially for a period of three years and may be extended indefinitely thereafter, as long as the company complies with U.S. regulations.

The requirements for the company (“petitioner”) to qualify for the blanket L are:

  • The petitioner has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more;
  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
  • The petitioner meets one of the following criteria:

(1) Have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period;
(2) Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; OR
(3) Have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.

| Nonimmigrant