The Key to a Successful L-1A Renewal Despite Challenges: Providing Evidence of Effort
L-1A renewals for executives and managers are becoming a concern due to recent and current circumstances that have made it difficult to achieve the objectives specified in original applications.
L-1A visas are issued to intracompany executive and manager transferees. This visa option allows current U.S. employers to transfer a manager or executive from an eligible, foreign-qualifying organization (e.g., parent company, branch, subsidiary, etc.) to an office in the United States. It also allows eligible foreign enterprises without a U.S. presence to send an executive or manager to the United States to open an office.
Part of the requirements for a successful L-1A visa renewal requires applicants to have met the objectives specified in the original application. This can be challenging under normal circumstances but with COVID-19 throwing a wrench in the economy this year, it has become even more difficult.
However, there is good news! Despite 2020 being a year filled with obstacles, the L1-A visa renewal process is very much alive. Applicants can have a successful renewal if they can demonstrate they made sufficient and reasonable effort to achieve what was noted in the original L-1A application, even if they did not accomplish it.
Here are a few examples of proof for common L-1A objectives that could be provided:
- Hiring New Employees – Show job postings, recruitment documents, interview notes, etc.
- Maintaining Current Employees – Continuing to retain employees may have become impossible but provide pay stubs to show the period of time they were kept on.
- Growing the Business – Applicants may undershoot sales or growth targets despite best efforts. Show proof of marketing campaigns, receipts of ad spend logs of sales calls, etc., and prepare a statement about why these efforts didn’t work.
Proof for any of the above categories may also include notices from states’ governors or other public officials dictating the specifications of business closures or operating at reduced capacity.
It is expected that, given the circumstances of 2020, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be reasonable when considering renewals. However, they will expect to see proof that applicants were doing what was expected as long as they were able, and an appropriate effort was made to overcome obstacles.
If applicants can demonstrate that an effort was made and back it up with facts and evidence, L-1A renewals will be in a much stronger position. Joorney works directly with applicants, or their immigration attorneys, to prepare the evidence for the renewal, updated business plans to accompany the renewal or respond to Requests for Evidence (RFE). Our team can also help prepare the business plan for initial L-1 visa applications.