USCIS Clarifies L-1 Visa Requirements

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a policy memorandum (PM) that clarifies the L-1 visa’s one-year of continuous foreign employment requirement.

In its PM, USCIS provided the following clarifications:

  1. An L-1 beneficiary must be located outside the U.S. during his or her one-year of continuous employment abroad
  2. At the time a petitioner files the initial L-1 petition, the L-1 beneficiary must meet all requirements, including the one-year of continuous foreign employment

USCIS issued this PM to establish consistent adjudications of L-1 petitions, and particularly, the one-year of continuous foreign employment requirement.

Our Take

It should be noted that this PM does not create a new law. Instead, it's an update that clarifies existing rules.

By issuing further clarification, USCIS is requiring companies to wait to file an initial L-1 petition until the sponsored employee has completed one-year of continuous employment abroad, versus anticipating the one-year anniversary. Additionally, USCIS also reiterated that traveling to the U.S. for pleasure or short business trips does not interrupt the continuous one-year of continuous foreign employment requirement, but the sponsoring company and L-1 beneficiary may not count time spent in the U.S. towards meeting one-year requirement.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C.(, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.