L1 Visa Denied? Common Denial Factors

L-1 Visa Lawyer in Chicago United States

Faced with harsh adjudications, L-1 visas have become increasingly difficult to obtain due in part to intensified scrutiny and heightened denial rates. According to USCIS, the L1 visa denial rate between 2015 and 2021 was averaged around 30%, compared to 5% for H1B visa. Despite the potential for an H-1B visa or employment based green card such as EB-3 multinational manager green card as an alternate options, given the current shortage of available employment or investment immigration options and an evolving job market, pursuing these applications has never been more challenging than it is today. Nearly 50% face requests for additional evidence after the initial filing that can lead to further delays or even denials. Understanding this climate shift is key work towards providing clients optimal assistance when applying through a Chicago based L1 immigration lawyers such as myself who are all too familiarly dealing with this issue since 2007 onwards.

Chicago Immigration Lawyer

More questions? Please call 773-687-0549 or contact CIPOLLA LAW GROUP online for a consultation. We have over 30 years of combined experience helping foreign nationals with their immigration status. As one of the top 10 Immigration Lawyers, we have excellent approval and exceptional client satisfaction. We look forward to serving you.

Most Common Grounds for L1 Visa Denials

An L1 visa is a type of U.S. visa that enables a foreign national to transfer to an affiliated office, branch, or subsidiary in the U.S. L1 visas are typically valid for up to three years and subject to renewal for an additional two-year period. However, L1 visas may be denied due to a variety of reasons, such as:

  1. failure to demonstrate the L1 petitioning company is an active and viable enterprise
  2. failure to provide adequate proof of the L1 beneficiary’s prior work experience in a related business abroad,
  3. insufficient evidence that the L1 beneficiary will be employed in the U.S. on a full-time basis.
  4. failure to provide proof that the L1b beneficiary posses “specialized knowledge”.
  5. Inconsistent adjudication by USCIS.

In addition to L1 requirements, applicants must also comply with general U.S. visa policies, such as offering proof of financial stability and no criminal record.

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L1 Visa Denied – Failure to Demonstrate “Specialized Knowledge”

The term “Specialized Knowledge” is defined as “special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.”  The problem with L-1 visa denied cases is defining what specialized knowledge really is.  The recent decisions have placed special emphasis on two primary factors:

  1. Defining what the foreign national’s specialized knowledge is (ie. what is their advanced level of knowledge), how the advanced level of knowledge was acquired, and how it has been applied in international markets.
  2. Distinguishing the foreign nationals advanced level of knowledge from his or her peers within the US petitioning entity, the overseas employer, and from other employees within the industry.

Of course there are other factors like showing the significance of the foreign national being transferred to the US entity and that the US entity’s operations will be disrupted.

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What can you do if your L1 Visa is Denied?

L-1 visa cases are very fact specific and require your immigration attorney to be educated by the client in what the foreign national’s advanced level of knowledge really is, and why this advanced knowledge is not knowledge commonly held within the company and industry.  While L-1 visas require a lot of effort, they can be an excellent alternative or primary visa category for employers requiring the services and/or training of a specialized knowledge employee.

Chicago Immigration Lawyer

Although L1 visas can be denied for a variety of reasons, with an experienced Chicago based L-1 visa attorney, you can increase your odd of a successful L-1 petition by understanding the L-1 application process and filing comprehensive applications with detailed evidence in order to avoid any potential delays or denials. Call 773-687-0549 or contact CIPOLLA LAW GROUP online for a consultation.