DOS Final Rule on Visa Validity Dates for L Visas

Current Department regulations require that L visa duration be limited to the validity period of the petition, which, under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, cannot exceed three years. Petitioners may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for extension of petition validity in increments of up to two years, but the total period of stay may not exceed five years for aliens employed in a specialized knowledge capacity, or seven years for aliens employed in a managerial or executive capacity. The Department is changing this regulation to delink visa and petition validity periods, as currently required by 22 CFR 41.54(c), ``Validity of visa". As a result, L visa validity will be governed by 22 CFR 41.112, which provides that, except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of that section, a nonimmigrant visa shall have the validity prescribed in schedules provided to consular officers by the Department, which reflect the reciprocal treatment the applicant's country accords U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents, or aliens granted refugee status in the United States. The change would assist beneficiaries of petitions for L status who are nationals of countries for which the reciprocity schedule prescribes visa validity for a longer period of time than the initial validity indicated in the petition approved by DHS and who have extended their L stay while in the United States. Subject to 22 CFR 41.112(c), such individuals generally would not need to apply again for an L visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas if they were to travel outside the United States during the period indicated in the applicable reciprocity schedule, as is currently required when petition validity has been extended. Under 8 CFR 214.2(l)(11), an alien may apply for admission in L status only while the individual or blanket petition is valid.