L1 Visa Attorney – State Department Allows L Visa Issuance Based on Reciprocity Schedule

A final rule has gone into effect allowing the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to issue L visas based on the visa reciprocity schedule. Under current regulations, L visa issuance is limited to the petition validity period, which is determined by the Department of Homeland Security and cannot exceed three years.

The DOS has changed the regulation to allow a visa to be issued for the same period as determined in the reciprocity schedule, which reflects the reciprocal treatment the foreign national applicant’s country accords U.S. nationals.

Nationals from countries for which the reciprocity schedule prescribes visa validity for a longer period of time that the initial validity period indicated in the petition that was approved by the Department of Homeland Security and who have extended their stay in the U.S. would benefit from the pending rule. They would not need to re-apply for an L visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas if they travel outside the U.S. during the period specified in the relevant reciprocity schedule, the number of visa applications that a foreign national will need to make will be reduced.

Please note the when L1 applicants enter the US, the port of entry officer still may issue an I-94 with a different expiration date form the actual visa in the passport. We suggest to not only track the Visa expiration date, but also the i-94 issued at each entry.