The United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) permits L-1 Intracompany Transferee visa holders to extend their status in two-year increments at a time. The maximum period of stay is seven years for L-1A visa holders and five years for L-1B visa holders.
Keep reading to discover how to extend an L-1 visa with USCIS.
Can L-1 Visa be Extended? – The Fundamentals
The maximum period of stay under an L-1 visa refers to the time spent within the United States. Any period spent outside the country for business or leisure can be recaptured and considered during the extension process.
Similar to the initial L-1 visa application process, the employer is responsible for filing a petition for an extension on the L-1 employee’s behalf. With the petition, USCIS requires several documents that include:
- Evidence showing the applicant has been employed in the United States since his or her admission to the country
- A diploma, certificate, or a similar document showing the beneficiary has a degree (or its foreign equivalent) relevant to his or her job position
- A letter from the employer detailing the applicant’s dates of employment, job duties, and salary/wages in the previous three-year period
- An applicant’s support letter outlining the salary, work schedule, terms of employment, and other elements involved in the job
The employer must submit the document package to USCIS with the required filing fee. Many L-1 visa holders bring their spouses and unmarried children (under 21) as L-2 dependents to the United States.
To request an extension of the L-2 dependent visas, the L-1 employer must file Form I-539 (Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) with Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) on the employee’s behalf.
L-1 Visa Extension – What Happens to the Time Spent Outside the United States?
USCIS permits L-1 visa holders to recapture time spent outside the United States in the extension application. In this process, applicants must submit a detailed summary of the travel itinerary, including the number of days spent abroad.
USCIS also requires evidence showing the applicant’s physical presence outside the United States, such as plane tickets, passport stamps, boarding passes, and other similar records.
Applicants who fail to submit the required documentation may not succeed in their attempt to recapture time. In such cases, USCIS will not send a further request for evidence.
L-1 Visa Extension – When is it Necessary to Apply for an Extension of Status?
L-1 visa holders must request an extension of status before the expiration date of their current status. The expiration date of each visa is stated on the applicant’s I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
If the applicant does not have or cannot obtain a copy of Form I-94, it is possible to visit the Customs and Border Protection Website and find the exact date of expiry.
The best approach is to submit the request for extension as early as possible. Employers are allowed to request for extension of status with USCIS up to six months before the applicant’s visa expiration date.
Do You Want to Apply for an Extension of L-1 Status? – Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado Today
Applying for an extension of status requires a strategic approach. Contact Immigration Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.