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USCIS Clarifies the L-1 One-Year Foreign Employment Requirement

On November 15, 2018, USCIS published a policy memorandum clarifying the requirement that a qualifying organization employ a principal L-1 beneficiary abroad for one (1) continuous year out of the three (3) years before the time of petition filing. The clarification was intended to ensure consistent adjudication of L-1 petitions by providing a standard basis for calculating time for the one-year foreign employment requirement.

Specifically, this PM explains that:

  • 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 requirements, including the one year of foreign employment, at the time the petitioner files the initial L-1 petition.

USCIS had not previously provided specific policy guidance with respect to the conditions by which the three-year clock may be stopped for purposes of determining whether the one-year foreign employment requirement for L-1 beneficiaries has been met. The new policy memorandum improves the process for adjudicating the L-1 nonimmigrant benefit by clarifying the calculation guidelines to ensure they are applied consistently to all L-1 petitions.

Source: USCIS.

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