Clearing Up Confusion Regarding L-1 Visa Expiration Dates Under Blanket L

      Not knowing the details of when your visa is set to expire can be an extremely stressful situation. In order to remain compliant with all visa regulations, L-1 employees should be aware of the following:
    Form I-129S expiration date: Once Form I-129S had been submitted  and approved by the U.S. Consulate, an Immigration Officer will stamp Form I-129S. This stamp grants  L-1 status and shows the L-1 expiration date. Usually, approved applications are granted legal status for three years.
      Petition Expiration Date (PED): This date is located on  the bottom right corner of L-1 visa stamping page in your passport. The PED should match the date granted by the Consulate on Form I-129S. In certain cases, if the employer’s ‘Blanket L’ petition expires before the typical three-year period, the PED may be less than 3 years after the visa was issued.
      Visa travel expiration date: This date can be found on the middle of the visa stamping page and indicates last day L-1 employee can enter US under the visa.
      I-94 expiration date: Immigration Officers issue an electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure record when L-1 employee enters United States. The I-94 record includes I-94 number and an expiration date known as the “admit until” date.  This date should be the same as the date on Form I-129S (PED). If there is a discrepancy, it is essential that you contact your attorney to make sure everything is in order.
      The following situations can arise due to expiration dates involving Blanket L visas:
  • I-94 expires after I-129S expiration date.
If United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) admits an individual to United States on L-1 status and issues I-94 “admit until” date later then  the expiration date on Form I-129S or the PED, it is considered as an error. In these circumstances the expiration date on Form I-129S supersedes the “admit until” date  and the individual should apply for an L-1 extension based on the Form I-129S expiration date.
  • I-94 expires before I-129S expiration date.
    If CBP admits an individual to the United States on L-1 status and issues I-94 “admit until” date  earlier then the expiration date on Form I-129S or PED, it is considered as an error. The individual should request a  correction to their I-94.If the error is not corrected by CBP, the individual must apply for an extension of their L-visa status prior to I-94 expiration date. It is not a CBP error if the I-94 expiration date is the same as  the date the individual’s passport expires, even if that date is before the Form I-129S expiration date. 
  • PED expires before I-129S expiration date.
    If the PED on an L-1 visa expires before the I-129S expiration date, it likely means the employer’s ‘Blanket L’ petition approved by USCIS expires before the three year status normally granted to L-1 visa applicants. If there is a discrepancy, the expiration date on Form I-129S  is the date the L-1 visa expires.
     For assistance in filing an L-1 visa, case specific questions, or help handling an L-1 error, please consult the Chugh, LLP immigration team.

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