USCIS Clarifies that Change in Worksite for L-1A Managers Does Not Require an Amendment Petition
The Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”) of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a decision earlier this week, ruling that USCIS had improperly revoked the L-1A status of an international manager whose employer had not filed an amendment petition to reflect a change in the manager’s worksite. The AAO agreed with the employer, an IT consulting services company, that an amendment petition was not required because the managerial job duties remained essentially the same for purposes of L-1A classification and the change in worksite was not “material.”
Although this AAO decision is not designated as precedent and cautiously notes that determinations of whether an amendment petition is required should be made on a case-by-case basis, it still provides some clarity to companies with international managers on L-1A status who need to be moved around the US for business reasons. Ironically, the same business reasons that led to the transfer of these managers to the US from overseas necessitate their mobility within the US. But, many employers fear what happened here: a site visit by an immigration officer and then revocation proceedings all of which disrupt and stress the employers and L-1A employees. As a conservative measure, some employers go through the process of preparing and filing an amendment petition with USCIS, but this adds another layer of (costly) compliance that actually may not be necessary. This decision helps clarify that so long as the employer can show that the job duties of the L-1A manager remain essentially the same at the new worksite, an amendment petition should not be necessary.
This alert is for informational purposes only. Please contact us if you would like to discuss this development further. We’d be delighted to hear from you.