Home > Department of State > New L-1 Rule Allows such Visa to be Issued for up to Sixty Months

New L-1 Rule Allows such Visa to be Issued for up to Sixty Months

February 21, 2012

A new rule by the U.S. Department of State pertaining to L-1 visa stamping at the U.S. consulates around the world “de-links” L-1 visa issuance at the consulate level from the USCIS level.  In effect, what this means is, for instance, even if an L-1 visa petition is approved with three-year validity by USCIS, a U.S. consulate is now required to issue a visa stamp for a period of 60 months, i.e. 5 years validity, depending on the maximum period allowed under the country of citizenship (as indicated on the reciprocity table of the U.S. Department of State, which can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3272.html). 

To understand how the new rule works in conjunction with the reciprocity rules, here is another example: Applying the new rule to nationals of India and China, an employer that has offices in India and China intends to bring its overseas employees in India and China to the United States.  Under the new rule, even though the L-1 visa could be issued for a period of 60 months, while the reciprocity rules allow the Indian national to obtain such visa for 60 months as well, the Chinese national is allowed a maximum of 24 months only.  Hence, the Chinese national in the above example will be issued an L-1 visa stamp for a period no more than 24 months despite the 60-month rule.       

Extension of L-1 petition prior to its expiration is still required to be filed with the USCIS in cases where an L-1 employer continues to require the services of an L-1 employee in the U.S.  However, an employee, who is in possession of a five-year visa stamp (assuming his/her country of citizenship is allowed a maximum period of five years under the reciprocity table) will not be required to obtain another visa stamp during its validity.  This new rule saves an enormous amount of time and effort on the part of employers and employees. 

With respect to Blanket L cases, if the Blanket L petition approval for a given employer is valid indefinitely, the corresponding visa stamp will now be issued for 60 months as well if his/her country of citizenship is allowed such maximum time period under the reciprocity rules. 

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