Recently, the USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate hosted an engagement with AILA representatives. USCIS addressed questions related to Requests for Evidence, the L-1 visa category, and court case decisions. The information below provides a review of the questions solicited by AILA regarding the increased denials in L1A cases and the responses provided by USCIS. We continue to fight and win many of the motions resulting in such erroneous denials.
Question: AILA members report receiving denials of L-1A “new office”petitions where service centers conclude that there is insufficient proof of consideration, or inadequate consideration, for the acquisition by one entity of another, notwithstanding the submission by the petitioner of evidence in the form of executed contracts, stock certificates, and other documentation showing the corporate transaction. Please instruct service centers that the financial arrangements involved in a corporate transaction are not a proper area of inquiry so long as there is other evidence of the creation of a qualifying corporate relationship between the foreign and domestic entities.
Immigration Service Answer:There may be circumstances in which it is necessary to request financial documentation to help establish a qualifying relationship. Such a determination must be made on a case-by-case basis. SCOPS will discuss this topic with the service centers. If there are examples where an I-129 L-1A petition was adjudicated improperly, please provide us with the receipt number, and we will review.
Question: AILA members report receiving denials of new office L-1 petitions because, in the view of the examiner, the petitioner has failed to demonstrate “[s]ufficient physical premises…” to satisfy the regulation at 8 CFR § 214.2(l)(3)(v)(A) or (vi)(A). Examiners are requiring a demonstration of sufficient space to house employees and operations at a point in the future, do not treat as satisfactory evidence that the new office will be located in a sublease or shared space location, and have denied petitions where photographs of the office location did not show any customers in photos of office space, or did not show “enough” furniture in photos because the space was new. Please instruct service centers that the “[s]ufficient physical premises”requirement is meant to be applied flexibly to take into account the actual “new office”needs of the petitioner, and are not meant to contemplate physical premises required at a point in the future.
Immigration Service Answer: While these documents typically will not be necessary in making a decision, there may be times when in fact they are necessary in the decision process. SCOPS will discuss this matter with the service centers. If AILA has examples where an I-129 L-1 new office petition was adjudicated improperly, please provide us with the receipt number, and we will review.
As long as this trends continues, we recommend to document all new L1A cases very carefully. Include strong business plans as well as reports to satisfy the need for the new office and minimize the risk of denials.