If you are a foreign national in the U.S. with an L1A visa, it is crucial to maintain a valid visa to continue working in the country. The L1A visa provides an opportunity for intra-company transfers for executives and managers, and is valid for up to seven years. However, renewing or extending the visa can be a challenging process, with many applicants experiencing rejection. This article provides an overview of the reasons for visa extension rejection, ways to avoid it, and the appeal process.
Reasons for L1A Visa Extension Rejection
There are various reasons why your L1A visa extension request may be denied, including:
1. Failure to Meet Eligibility Requirements
The L1A visa is reserved for senior executives or managers who have worked with the parent company for at least one year in the three years preceding the visa application. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements, your visa extension may not be approved.
2. Inadequate Proof of Business Relationship
To extend your L1A visa, you must demonstrate that you have an ongoing business relationship with the parent company. Submitting incomplete, inaccurate, or insufficient documentation to support your claim may lead to visa denial.
3. Security Issues
If the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that you pose a security threat, for instance, if you have a criminal record or are on a terrorist watchlist, your visa extension request may be denied.
4. Failure to Maintain Status
As an L1A visa holder, you must maintain lawful status in the U.S. If you violate any of the visa terms, like engaging in unauthorized employment or failing to extend your visa before it expires, your application for L1A visa extension may not be approved.
How to Avoid L1A Visa Extension Rejection
To avoid your L1A visa extension request being rejected, follow these tips:
1. Start the Extension Process Early
Begin the L1A visa extension process several months before your current visa expires. This will provide ample time for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process your application without any triggers for denial.
2. Provide Comprehensive Documentation
Ensure to provide complete and accurate documents to support your application. Double-check all your personal details, educational qualifications, job experience, and business relationships when filling out forms.
3. Hire an Immigration Attorney
Immigration laws are complex and constantly evolving. An immigration attorney understands the process and can help you with your application. They can advise you on how to address potential roadblocks and assist you with appealing a denied application.
4. Maintain Visa Status
Always comply with the terms of your visa to avoid status violations.
The Appeal Process for Rejected L1A Visa Extensions
If your L1A visa extension is denied, you can file an appeal with the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) by submitting Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, within 30 calendar days of receiving the denial notice. You can either file a motion to reconsider the decision or file a new petition with additional evidence to back up your application.
Recent changes in the rules and regulations
In May 2021, the USCIS announced that it would rescind a Trump-era policy that allowed its officers to deny visa applications outright without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) to applicants who did not provide sufficient evidence to support their claims. This policy change means that applicants will be provided with ample time and opportunity to supplement their applications.
An L1A visa provides a fantastic opportunity for foreign executives and managers to work in the U.S. Inadequate preparation, lack of documentation, and status violations are some of the reasons why L1A visa extension requests are rejected. However, by following the guidelines mentioned in this article and seeking guidance from an immigration attorney, you can increase your chances of success in your L1A visa extension application.
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