Tag Archives: l-1 visa

E3 Visa & H1B Visa “Administrative Processing” Refusal at US Consulate

In general for most people once an potential employer sponsor in the US has agreed to hire a foreigner under the E3 Visa, H1B visa or L1 Visa, the hard part has been done. This also applies to the K1 Visa for Marriage.

As with the H1B visa and L1 visa, petitions and forms have to filed and approved at the USCIS and Department of Labor and with the E3 visa at the Department of Labor only, so a lot of the vetting has already been done. Then of course employers if they are planning to go through the time, expense and hassle of hiring a foreigner, they themselves are going to make sure most of the time, that the employer is a legitimate candidate with relevant experience and qualifications.

So going to the US Consulate interview, while in many ways seeming like a big deal to the candidate because of the formality, seriousness and security of the process, ends up being just a routine with at the most and most a few hours wasted in the room waiting. Therefore actually getting the E3 visa or H1B visa stamp in the passport is the last step in the process before flying to the US to begin their new career.

However for some unfortunate candidates it is not so simple and the process at the US consulate takes a lot longer under the title of “administrative processing” under condition 221(g).

For a few of this group it is partly or fully their own fault as they have forgotten documents they were supposed to bring or to pay relevant fees. Usually in these instances, it just requires another US consulate visa appointment or even a quick dash out to get things and pay the relevant costs, returning the same day to continue the interview albeit with going to back of the queue.

Also in some instance people have lied about their experience, qualifications and/or circumstances and/or their employer has to some degree and this is noticed or suspected by the US conular officer. In these cases the administrative processing that follows will ultimately result in a visa denial or occasionally and instant denial at the US consulate.

(To Note visa like the F1 visa or J1 visa tend not to have this issue. Of course you can still be denied for these visas, but it tends to be instant at the US consulate as the USCIS is generally not involved in these petitions)

However in most cases the “administrative processing” or condition 221(g) is a lot more grey and is often as a result of a very particular case officer hesitation due to some aspect of the application. These can include;

  1. Unsure about the company as never sponsored a foreigner before and/or is a smaller organization or possibly operates in an industry field not usually associated with the professional work visa like E3, H1B and L1
  2. Unsure about the job offer as it sounds like a non-professional or specialty role which may not require a bachelors degree not usually associated with the E3 visa, H1B visa or L1 visa
  3. Unsure about the candidate as either their something amiss about their qualifications and experience and how it relates to the role they are about to fulfill or about their personal background from a security/character/criminal standpoint or for the E3 visa whether they intend to return home
  4. Unsure about the nature of a dependent on the visa petition

The problem is at this point if a candidate receives a letter or notification under “administrative processing” 221 (g) that they lose complete control over the process. Whether their case will take a 1 week or 4 months is really dependent on the individual US consulate, what the backlog is at the time, mailing times, whether the processing will happen locally or be sent back to the US, public holidays and of course the nature of the individual case.

Additionally in most instances there is no way to get extra information until the US consulate contacts you with an update or request for more information or in any way to find out how long the process is going to take. This of course can complete ruin a potential work position, as many employers in the US are unlikely to hold open a role indefinitely with no guarantee of success or timeliness. Then of course individuals and families have also no doubt made travel plans and paid costs and begun to wind down local life so can cause a lot of heartache and financial pain as well.

This is a clear example of the US Immigration system for Legal Immigrants being completely unfair and in need of complete reform. However in the new immigration laws proposed by members of congress, things like this are never discussed as that would be too practical and not score any political points! This aspect and many like it is why the Legal Immigration mess feeds into and causes Illegal Immigration problems for the US.

Sometimes US consulates when required don’t even send the “diplomatic pouch” which carries the case documents back to the US straight away and collect other cases from their particular US consulate and others in the area or country prior to sending it back. This of courses further delay along with the fact the USCIS who re-process these cases often view this as low priority cases to evaluate.
In truth this process should only be used sparingly by US consular officials as in many cases just duplicating work already done by other US Government agencies as well as the Private employer.

I wish I could give more hope and insight to the process for people in this situation but it is a veyr mysterious process and this is all that is really known about it. All I can hope is that you never be subject to condition 221 (g) and administrative processing!

CJ

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L-1 Visa Information & Application Process

The United States L1 visa is classified in the US Immigration system as a non-immigrant visa allowing companies situated in the US and overseas to transfer employees of certain types from its foreign operations to the US operations for up to seven years.

Companies operating in the US can apply to the relevant USCIS service center for an L1 visa to transfer someone to the US from their overseas operations. Employees in this category will, initially, be granted an L-1 visa for up to three years.
The employee must have worked for the company office of the US company outside of the US for at least one year out of the last three years.

The 2 types of employees who are eligible for the L-1 visa;

1. Specialized Knowledge Employees
Employees with significant expertise in the company’s products or services, major systems or procedures, research and development or patentented techniques are issued an L-1B visa, initially for 3 years able to be extended to a maximum of 5 years.

2. Managers or Executives
The executive or manager  category can be strict and usually requires a detailed description of the role. The person should either have a supervisory responsibility for staff or a major demonstrated prominent rolw. The L-1A visa would be issued in this case, for a 3 year period initially and then able to be extended in two year increments up to a maximum of 7 years.

After completing the maximum period in L-1 visa status, the employee must be employed leave the US for at least a minimum of 1 year before a new application is made for the L-1 visa or even H-1B Visa status. The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa meaning you can apply for a green card while on L-1 visa status. L-1 visa applicants may not be denied a visa on the basis that they are an intending immigrant to the US or that they do not have a residence abroad which they do not intend to abandon. This is also common to the H-1B visa.

The L-1 Visa Application Process

An L-1 visa petition is filed with the USCIS on Form I-129, along with the Form I-129L supplement. These are the documents that are required to verify the application.

a)     A detailed job role description and requirements for the position for Managers. For the specialized knowledge position, detailed description of the unique knowledge to be used by the US branch company
b)     The corporate relationship between the U.S. company and the foreign company (can be a letter from the corporate secretary, and the Articles of Incorporation of US and Foreign Companies)
c)     Documentation verifying the capitalization structure of the company (i.e.. equity ownership documentation)
d)     Proof you have qorked at the foreign company for one of the last 3 years
e)     If coming to the US to setup a new office branch, evidence of establishment of new office (e.g. lease, sales contract, etc.)
f).     Annual report of both US and overseas company or other documents confirming financial stability
g).     An organizational chart indicating your role in the US company and the foreign company
h).     Copies of applicable business permits/licenses and registrations

For Canadian citizens applying for the L-1 visa under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the petition may be filed at the port of entry like the airport or land border when the person applies for admission.

There is no restriction on the types of business that can sponsor an L1 visa – corporations(S, C, LLC etc.), partnerships, government-owned entities and non-profit organizations are all eligible. There are four business entities in the United States that can offer employment to the alien – a parent company, a branch, a subsidiary, or an affiliate.  Sponsoring employer need not be US owned or incorporated. Ownership requirements are not as strict in the case of vary large corporations, where a substantial minority shareholding will be a qualifying relationship.

Some other corporate conditions for the L-1 visa include

i.     A US company must control half or more of the foreign subsidiary, and have ultimate decision making power.
ii.   The foreign company should control at least half of a US subsidiary, and also have decision making powers over the US branch
iii.  Branch US and Overseas companies must each be at least half owned by the same parent organization
iv.   US organization that employs sales people abroad can sponsor these employees for the L-1 Visa even in the absence of an Overseas Branch

I hope this helps answer your questions about the L-1 visa and how it works and whether you may be eligible now or in the future to apply for it.

CJ

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