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USCIS Clarifies the L-1 One Year Foreign Employment Requirement

November 29 2018

The L-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager (L-1A) or an employee with specialized knowledge (L-1B) from one of its qualifying foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification allows a foreign company that does not yet have a qualifying U.S. office to send an executive or manager, or specialized knowledge employee, to the United States to establish one.

Specifically,

  • The L-1 beneficiary must be physically outside the United States during the required one continuous year of employment, except for brief trips to the United States for business or pleasure; and

  • The petitioner and the beneficiary must meet all the requirements, including the one year of foreign employment, at the time the petitioner files the initial L-1 petition.

The one year of foreign employment must occur within the three-year period preceding the date the L-1 petition is filed. USCIS will calculate the three-year period during which the beneficiary must meet the one-year foreign employment requirement. The PM also clarifies what time will be taken into consideration in determining when the three-year period begins.