The L-1 visa is used to transfer foreign employees to the United States when the foreign company and the US company or office are related in certain ways (parent/subsidiary, for example). A blanket L-1 petition is used by larger multinational companies to transfer multiple employees to the US on short notice.
The Advantage of a Blanket Petition
Without an approved blanket petition, a company must file a full L-1 petition with the USCIS every time it seeks to transfer an employee to the United States. With an approved blanket petition, however, all the company has to do is to file a copy of the approved blanket petition along with certain information specific to the individual employees the company seeks to transfer.
Not every company is qualified to submit a blanket L1 petition. To qualify, the company must:
Maintain a US office that has been in business for at least a year;
Maintain “qualifying relationships” with at least three “qualifying organizations” (branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates),whether domestic or foreign;
The company, together with its qualifying organizations, must qualify under at least one of the following criterion:
The group has collectively obtained at least 10 L1 visas for employees over the past year;
The group’s combined sales total least $25 million; or
The group’s US workforce numbers no less than 1,000 employees.
The filing fee for an L-1 Blanket Visa Petition is $325, plus an anti-fraud fee of $500, for a total of $825. This amount does not include the fee payable for each individual L-1 petition. If you seek expedites services through Premium Processing, an extra fee of $1440 applies.
Duration of Blanket Petition Approval
The initial validity of a blanket visa is three years from the date it is issued. It is also possible to file for an extension. Please note that the validity period of the blanket petition is different from the period of stay offered to individual employees present in the US on an L-1 visa.
If the US company’s blanket petition will expire before an employee’s individual period of stay expires, the company will have to either obtain a blanket petition extension or file an individual L-1 petition on behalf of the employee.
Procedure for Filing an L-1 Blanket Petition
To apply for an L-1 blanket petition:
Complete Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker;
Include documents proving that the company meets the requirements to file a blanket petition (combined sales, number of employees, etc.);
Include documents proving the relationships between the US company and the other qualifying organizations it is relying on to qualify for a blanket petition;
Send the entire application package to the USCIS; and
Wait for the USCIS to send you an I-797 approval notice (the approval notice should state the period of validity of the blanket petition).
When you seek to bring in employees under the blanket petition, complete Form I-129S and send it to each employee along with a copy of the I-797approval notice and certain other documentation. The employee beneficiaries will then proceed to a US embassy or consulate to have their visas issued.