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USCIS Policy Update: Sole Proprietorships and L-1 Petitions

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Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy update through its Policy Manual, reinforcing the legal distinctions between business entities in the context of immigration petitions. Specifically, the guidance makes it clear that a sole proprietorship, by virtue of not being a distinct legal entity separate from its owner, is ineligible to file a petition on behalf of its owner. This update reaffirms existing rules and underscores the necessity for a clear legal separation between the petitioner and the entity filing on their behalf.

Moreover, the USCIS guidance extends to blanket L-1 petitions filed by international organizations, providing clarity on the timing of petition extensions. It explicitly states that the failure to file an extension in a timely manner does not trigger a 3-year waiting period before another blanket petition can be submitted. This aspect of the update aims to streamline processes for international organizations seeking to transfer employees temporarily to U.S. locations within the organization.

Effective since October 20, 2023, the USCIS guidance outlined in Volume 2 of the Policy Manual takes precedence over any prior information on the topic. It emphasizes the agency’s commitment to maintaining a clear and consistent approach to immigration petitions, with a specific focus on the ineligibility of sole proprietorships to file L-1 petitions on behalf of their owners.

If you have any questions on filing an L-1 or Blanket L, contact my office at jacki@lentinivisas.com or call at 630-262-1435.