Connecticut, US

Nov 14 2019

State Department Withdraws Revised Blanket L Visa Standard, But Future Changes Are Expected

United States

At a glance

  • The State Department has withdrawn blanket L visa guidelines that would have required applicants to show their eligibility by “clear and convincing evidence” and directed officers to deny applications where questions about the applicant’s eligibility could not be resolved quickly.
  • However, officials of the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have indicated that new L-1 visa eligibility policies are in development.

The issue

The State Department has withdrawn blanket L visa guidelines that would have required applicants to show their eligibility by “clear and convincing evidence” and directed officers to deny applications where questions about the applicant’s eligibility could not be resolved quickly. 

Under longstanding guidelines, blanket L-1 visa applicants must demonstrate that their applications are “clearly approvable.”  The recent, and now withdrawn, guidelines did not alter this standard, but gave consular officers new and detailed instructions that could have led to even more frequent visa denials.

What this means for employers and foreign nationals

Employers and foreign nationals should expect consular officers to scrutinize blanket L visa applications closely, as has been the practice in recent years.  Though the State Department has rescinded its recent reinterpretation of the standard of review for blanket cases, future revisions to blanket L policy are on the horizon.  At a recent conference of the Society for Human Resources Management, senior officials from the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicated that new policies concerning blanket L visa eligibility are in development.

Fragomen closely tracks L visa policy and adjudications, and will provide further updates as developments occur. 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.