3 Reasons Why Your L-1 Visa Could Get Rejected in 2021

By Michael Niren November 21, 2016 (Updated July 21, 2021) 5 min. read
L-1 Visa Rejection

Does your company need specialized knowledge of one of its employees from a branch outside of the US? An L-1 visa enables you to bring just such an employee over. There are two types of L-1 Visas: the L-1A and the L-1B. However, just because you’ve got a compelling case for bringing over an employee doesn’t mean that the US government will accept your application. Read on to learn about the top three reasons for L-1 rejections.

1. Inability to Prove Specialized Knowledge

Immigration lawyers have seen a recent rise in the L-1 rejection rate because employers aren’t proving that the employee in question has the necessary specialized knowledge that’s invaluable to the American branch of the company.

Unless you can prove that the employee has specialized knowledge that no other American employee possesses, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will reject a request for an L-1 visa.

It’s a good idea to spend plenty of time training your employees to provide them with the specialized knowledge that they need before applying for an L-1 visa so they have the strongest application possible.

2. Not Enough Evidence

In March 2015, the US government released a memorandum clarifying what adjudicators should look for when handling L-1 visa requests. The release of the memorandum coincided with the government’s publication of L-1 rejection rates.

One of the points the memorandum makes is that adjudicators need a “preponderance” of evidence that the employee in question meets eligibility standards. What does “preponderance” of evidence mean?

The government defines the term as meaning that the applicant has to show that his or her claims are more likely true than not. It doesn’t mean that you have to remove all doubt from the adjudicator’s mind – you just have to convince him or her that your evidence is probably true.

3. The Effect of Politics

Although adjudicators are supposed to decide cases purely on their merits, critics of the federal government complain that politics has crept into the L-1 visa decision-making process.

L-1 rejection rates tell an interesting tale. In 2006, the rejection rate of L-1 visa applications was 6%. Eight years later, it was 35%. Immigration advocates point to the effect of the global recession in 2008, which hit the US especially hard. The economic downturn created what these advocates refer to as a “protectionist” culture at USCIS. As a result, the agency was less likely to approve L-1 visas because officials were worried foreign workers would take jobs away from Americans.

It doesn’t help that politicians have been some of the loudest critics of visa programs designed to bring over skilled foreign workers. They claim that these programs are an excuse for companies to fill empty positions with cheaper labor from outside of the US.

What Can You Do If Your L-1 Visa Application Is Rejected?

Given the current rejection rates of L-1 visa applicants as well as the political climate, you have to explore the possibility that your application might not be successful. Some even ask, if an L-1 visa gets rejected, what is the time period for reapplying?

Fortunately, if your L-1 visa is rejected, you are able to reapply 3 days after the previous rejection. You don’t see applicants doing this often because it’s not common that your circumstances change that quickly but it’s good to know you don’t have to wait 6 months or longer.

That being said, a rejection doesn’t mean you’ve run out of options. You can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). Keep in mind that the AAO can take months to respond to requests for appeals, though.

What other options do you have? You could appeal USCIS’s decision in federal district court. While it might sound a bit drastic, appealing to this court might be your best option. For a start, you have the right to appeal under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Secondly, you might get a fairer hearing from a judge and have the ability to present all of the facts of the case to him or her. And there’s a chance your request might be granted; the federal courts don’t always have a strong interest in litigating visa issues.

Another option is to consider if you’re a better fit for other visa categories. Perhaps you don’t meet the qualifications of an L-1 visa, but you might be eminently eligible for another type of visa for entrepreneurs.

The process can be long, arduous, and ultimately disappointing if you’re rejected. However, becoming discouraged and giving up completely isn’t the answer. Do your research to figure out a way to get into the US, and your persistence will pay off.

L1a and L1b Visa Extension Rejection Rate 2021

When and if you have been rejected your L-1 visa application, you will receive a Request For Evidence (RFE). Statistics show that a little over 57% of L-1 visa applicants recieve RFEs and 54% of those are approved after the RFE. 

Turn to an Immigration Law Professional for Help with L-1 Visa Applications

If you’re interested in applying for an L-1 visa or you’ve recently been turned down for such a work permit, talk to an experienced immigration lawyer specializing in employment issues. Applying to enter the US even on a temporary basis is a complicated and frequently frustrating undertaking. An immigration law professional can help you find a way to come to the US legally.

Are You Interested in Applying for an L-1 Visa?

If so, Contact VisaPlace today. All of our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for VisaPlace Legal, an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Ready for the next step? Book your 1 on 1 consultation now or call us at 1-888-317-5770.

Have a Question related to your Immigration Needs?

Fill out the FREE Immigration Assessment form and get a response within 24 hours to see if you’re eligible.

The assessment form should take approximately 5-7 minutes to complete. We will get back to you within one business day to let you know if we are able to help.