News November 23, 2004

L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2004

This session Congress considered several bills that would have severely restricted the right of companies to transfer personnel from affiliated entities abroad to the U.S. In the end, however, the L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee) Reform Act of 2004, codifies existing doctrine requiring that the employer who petitions for L1-B status for a worker must directly supervise the worker at any unaffiliated third party work site.

The new law also strikes a provision introduced in 2000 that allowed companies with blanket petitions to transfer workers who had been on the payroll abroad for only six months. Reverting to prior practice, all L-1B beneficiaries must prove that they have been employed by the foreign entity for at least one year out of the immediately preceding three years. A new $500 fee will apply for applicants for L status either through petition in the United States or directly at a U.S. consulate abroad.


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