Why Are L-1 Visas Getting Rejected?  How to Avoid Common Errors


An L-1 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa. Although it is defined as a temporary visa, it can be extended to as many as seven years. L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both the United States and abroad, and allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation’s US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the US.

It also allows a foreign company without an affiliated U.S. office to send an employee to the United States to help establish an office, with additional requirements that must be fulfilled. In recent years, there has been a sharp decline in acceptance, due to a variety of factors. Typically, 35% of L-1 visa applications are rejected by the USCIS, and of that number, 56% of the applications from Indian nationals were denied, according to a new report by the National Foundation for American Policy.

Improper paperwork

By far the most common error is incorrect paperwork. To apply for an L1 visa, you or your employer need to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) on Form I-129, along with supporting documentation showing that both the U.S. branch and the foreign parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch meet the qualifiers defined in the law and regulations. Another issue many face is simply not having enough time clocked up in a relevant company. You need a minimum of one continuous year with a relevant company within the past three years, and you must be able to provide proof of this employment.

Not meeting the requirements

There are two kinds of L-1 visa, the L-1 A for executives and managers, and the L-1B, for workers with “specialized knowledge,” or vital qualifications and experiences that US workers do not have. If a US worker with comparable experience or qualifications can be found, preference must be given to them. This is to protect US interests, if an American can reasonably fill the position, the job must be given to them.


Approximately 50% of applicants are asked to provide evidence, according to USCIS data. This request can increase the legal cost of the visa approval process. Many employers and sponsors simply quit at this point, due to the elevated cost and extended time frame. Unfortunately, it’s difficult, almost impossible in fact, to predict if you will be one of those called on to provide additional evidence.

It can be quite difficult to qualify for the L-1 visa. We at Visaplace will be happy to assist you throughout the application process and hope to help you find employment and a new life in the United States.

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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