USCIS Clarifies the One-Year Foreign Employment Required for L-1 Petitions

Practice Areas

By: Angelita Chavez-Halaka, Armando Escobedo, and Gladys Gervacio


On November 15, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released Policy Memorandum (PM) clarifying the L-1 one-year foreign employment requirement. This PM is effective immediately.

What is an L-1 Petition?

The L-1 visa is designed for “Intracompany Transferees.” It is a temporary, non-immigrant petition which allows a person to work in the United States provided they:

  • Will be transferred from a foreign entity to a U.S. parent, branch, affiliate, subsidiary or joint venture of a foreign company; and
  • Have worked for the foreign entity for at least 1 year within the past 3 years prior to filing of the L-1.

What does the PM clarify?

The PM clarifies the following:

  1. The Beneficiary must be physically outside the US to meet the continuous 1 year of qualifying employment.
  2. Brief trips to the US for business or pleasure do not interrupt the continuous 1 year.
  3. Time spent by the Beneficiary working in the US for the qualifying Petitioner results in an adjustment of the 3-year period.
  4. Time spent by the Beneficiary in the US in these instances will not result in an adjustment of the 3-year period:
    1. As a dependent of another visa type
    2. As a student
    3. Unemployed or working for an unrelated employer
  5. At the time of the initial L-1 petition filing, the Petitioner and Beneficiary must meet all L-1 requirements.

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