USCIS has recently announced updates to its Policy Manual clarifying the timeline for filing blanket L petitions. Blanket L petition approvals enable multinational organizations that meet certain criteria to more quickly transfer their foreign national employees from overseas affiliates to U.S. offices, without the need to file an individual petition with USCIS for each applicant, and without the need to prove the corporate relationship each time.
An organization applying for a blanket L petition for the first time will initially receive a 3-year approval, during which time its foreign national transferees may apply directly for L-1A or L-1B classification with the U.S. consulate using form I-129S and documentation of their personal qualifications. In order to use the blanket L process after the initial 3 years, the organization must apply for an extension of the blanket L petition, which, when approved, is valid indefinitely. The organization can file the extension request up to 6 months prior to the 3-year approval end-date.
If the blanket extension request is approved, the new blanket approval notice is issued with an indefinite validity period, and only needs to be amended to reflect changes to the entities’ qualifying relationships, if there are any. If the blanket extension is denied, the organization is required to wait 3 years until it may apply for another blanket petition. During those 3 years, its L-1 employees must undergo the individual petition process with USCIS before they can apply for a visa at the consulate.
The recent guidance clarifies that organizations that do not timely apply for an extension of the initial blanket approval are not required to wait for 3 years before filing for an extension. While they cannot use the expired blanket petition and may need to file individual petitions until the extension is approved, they can apply for the extension at any time and resume use of the blanket procedure once it has been approved.
In order to apply for the extension of a blanket L petition, the organization must file an I-129 petition and provide the following supporting evidence:
- A list of the beneficiaries admitted under the blanket petition during the preceding 3 years, with the following information for each beneficiary:
- Positions held during that period;
- The employing entity; and
- The dates of initial admission and final departure, if applicable, of each beneficiary;
- A statement from the petitioner indicating whether it still meets the blanket petition criteria; and
- Documentation to support any changes in approved relationships and additional qualifying organizations.
This updated guidance therefore enables organizations that may have missed the deadline to restore their blanket L qualifying status quickly, without the need to wait the mandatory 3-year period required for those whose extension applications are denied. To determine whether your company may qualify and benefit from use of the blanket L petition, we recommend consulting with an attorney to evaluate your organization and eligibility.
By: Rebecca Chen
Rebecca Chen is a Partner at Reddy & Neumann. Her representation includes advising clients throughout the non-immigrant and immigrant visa application process, from initial filing, responding to various requests for evidence, and processing at overseas consulates. Her years of experience in the immigration field have made her a knowledgeable resource for complex business immigration matters.