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USCIS Replaces Endorsed I-129S Forms with Approval Notices for Blanket L-1 Petitions

On August 3, USCIS announced that L-1petitions it approves based on a blanket petition will now have I-797 Approval Notices issued to the petitioner and beneficiary, rather than a stamped endorsed copy of the I-129S form. Previously, when an L-1 blanket-based petition filed with USCIS was approved, the agency mailed a copy of I-129S form to the petitioner, with a stamp and endorsement indicating the application had been approved. Beneficiaries would then carry this stamped endorsed I-129S form when traveling, to provide at the consulate when applying for the visa and at the U.S. border.

The stamped endorsed I-129S form is now being replaced by a DHS approval notice for Form I-129S, which should be presented by beneficiaries at the consulate and border instead. CBP has yet to confirm whether its officers are aware of the new approval notice in lieu of the endorsed I-129S form for USCIS-adjudicated petitions.

At this time, the change appears to only affect blanket L-1 petitions filed with USCIS, not the consulate. Beneficiaries applying directly to the consulate are still recommended to carry three copies of the completed I-129S form for the consular officer to endorse upon approval, and should present this endorsed I-129S form to CBP when entering the U.S.

Employers or employees who will be filing blanket-based L-1 petitions can consult with immigration counsel to determine whether a USCIS filing or an application at the consulate is the best course of action in light of this recent policy change, and to ensure that the employee is in possession of the necessary documents prior to traveling internationally.

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.