Confusion Over the Blanket L Documents

One way that foreign companies will get their employees into the United States is with the Blanket L Petition. The Blanket L Petition allows multinational companies to transfer their employees to the United States by classifying them as L-1 nonimmigrant intracompany transferees. The major advantage of the Blanket L Petition is that, if approved, it allows companies to move employees on a company-wide rather than individual basis. It also greatly reduces the time needed to receive a Visa, from months down to weeks or maybe even days.

To begin the process, the company will file the Blanket L Petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office (USCIS.) In order to even qualify, the company must have at least three branches throughout the world with their United States office having been in existence for at least one year. The Blanket L Petition is intended for major companies that are planning on bringing over a large number of employees, not just a dozen or so. If the USCIS approves the Blanket L Petition, then employees hoping to transfer can petition for a L-1 Visa directly from their local U.S. embassy.

If everything goes swimmingly, the employee will find themselves on a plane before they know it. When they arrive in the United States, they will be greeted by the United States Customs and Border Protection department (USCBP.) They will need to see that the employee has three valid documents:

  • A Visa, in this case the L-1
  • Form I-129S, which is their original application to the USCIS for the program
  • Form I-94, which includes their travel records

In addition to simply having all of these documents (and more,) the documents themselves need to be valid. This is a major source of confusion for those using the Blanket L Petition. You are dealing with three separate documents with three different expiration dates. You are likely using them to travel back and forth at points. The USCBP will give you a three-year document which will expire before the five-year L-1 Visa will. If you miss even one of these expiration dates, you become illegal in the eyes of the USCBP.

Adding to the confusion is that these documents are typically not compiled by the employees themselves, but by HR managers at their respective company. Employees frequently don’t know the intricacies of the process. They might not understand that if the HR managers miss one of the dates, the employee has to go home. The interplay between these documents requires disparate agencies to be in communication with each other to fully understand, which is more easily said than done.

If you are working in HR at a company with the Blanket L Petition, don’t leave your employee’s livelihood up to chance. At Valvo & Associates, we have plenty of experience dealing with this situation. We can manage the process for you and guarantee that everything is legally sound. Contact us today if you would like to discuss the services we offer. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

By Brandon Valvo