Recently the USCIS issued a memorandum which clarified the 1-year foreign employment requirement for the L1 Visa. It confirmed that the qualifying organization should have employed the L1 beneficiary for at least a year in the recent 3 years.
As per the recently released memorandum, here are the requirements of the L1 Visa of the USA:
- The L1 beneficiary should have been employed with the qualifying organization for at least a year. During this 1-year employment, the L1 beneficiary should be physically outside the USA. Any time which is spent in the USA during this period will not be counted towards the required 1-year duration. Even though the time spent in the USA may have been at the request of the L1 petitioner, it will still not be counted.
- The L1 beneficiary will be allowed to make brief trips to the US for business or for pleasure. However, any time spent in the USA will not be counted towards the mandated 1-year requirement. For example, say the employee was employed with the L1 petitioner from 1st January 2017. He spent 30 days in the USA during this time. In that case, he will need to accrue these 30 days to count towards his 1-year employment duration with the employer.
- The memorandum also stated that when a petitioner requests an extension of the L1 Visa, the USCIS will look at the previous L1 petition. The previous L1 petition should have met all the requirements of the L1 visa. Only then will the USCIS sanction an extension or a change in visa status, as per JDSupra.
- When the L1 beneficiary works in the USA for the L1 petitioner on a different visa, that duration will not be counted towards the foreign employment duration. The employee still should have worked with the employer for at least a year outside the US to meet the requirements.
- If the L1 beneficiary is present in the USA for non-work purposes, even then that duration would not be counted towards the 1-year foreign employment requirement. The L1 beneficiary may have been in the US on a dependent visa, yet the duration spent in the US will not be counted.
- The L1 beneficiary should have been employed continuously with the L1 petitioner for 1 year outside the US. If there is a break in employment during this year, it will not be accepted. The employee should have been employed in a continuous, full-time role for 1 year in the recent 3 years.
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