What The 'L' Is Going On With USCIS? - Eileen M.G. Scofield

"L-1 filings were once familiar territory.  The statute and regulations provided a useful roadmap, and practitioners were soon comfortable navigating it with ease and efficiency.

As more experienced L-1 visa practitioners know, changes in the L-1 process in recent years necessitate changes in the way we approach the L-1 process.  Whereas the familiar guide provided by statutory, regulatory and judicial law was once sufficient; recent regulatory and policy changes have laid landmines, dug potholes, and strewn debris across the road, causing even the most experienced traveler to require a careful trek.  In order to survive the journey on this once-familiar landscape, now we must also pay attention to issues related to national security, fraud, politics, economics, various administrative directives, internal agency guidance into the L-1 diet in order to survive.

In light of these many issues, all practitioners need to revisit how they draft L-1 petitions, and as well, what they seek from the petitioner and beneficiary in the course of advising on L-1 petitions. And while the filing location and/or the A or B classification was often not in need of extensive analysis, in today’s environment, it is. Recent procedural changes at USCIS make the Request for Additional Evidence (“RFE”) more of an exception than a rule.  And once filed and approved, what later issues should be anticipated. While this discussion will focus overall on Service Center Based Filings, the overall guidance might add value to other filings as well.

By way of reference, this discussion focuses on changes in USCIS policy as they apply to L-1B petitions.  However, the same principals also affect L-1A filings as well.  The practice pointers in particular can easily be reworked to apply to L-1A specific concepts." - Eileen M.G. Scofield, Feb. 4, 2014.