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Immigration Service Clarifies L-1 Intra-company Transfer Admission Dates

The US Immigration Service has issued a memorandum to its field offices clarifying the dates of admission which should be granted to L-1 intra-company transfers when they enter the United States.

The Immigration Service’s regulations do not specifically require a set date for each admission. Meaning that with H-1 employees, the regulations specifically state that the H-1 employee “shall” be given the admission date as stated on the underlying H-1 petition. The regulation clearly requires the admitting officer to grant the full time allowed on the petition, which in turn means the inspecting officer should not limit the time of admission to the employee’s visa from the US Consulate.

With the L-1 regulations, however, the case is different, as there is no such requirement. Therefore, over the years we have encountered situations where the L-1 employee is only granted admission up to the date of the expiration of the visa, which is most commonly not as long as the underlying petition. In the new memorandum, dated March 16, 2009, which was only released to the public last month, the Immigration Service has instructed all of its offices to grant the full admission up to the date as stated on the underlying L-1 petition and not limit the admission to the amount of time remaining on the visa.

If you have had difficulty with L-1 employees traveling to the US and receiving a limited amount of time for their date of admission (as stated on the I-94 card), this information should be useful for your employee and should be pointed out to the inspecting officer at the time of admission.

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