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Pending Final Rule: Issuance of L Visas Based on Visa Reciprocity Schedule

Pending final rule with the Department of State (DOS) is a regulation governing issuance of full validity L Visas to individuals with approved L petitions. The rule permits the issuance of L visas with validity periods based on the visa reciprocity schedule which reflects the reciprocal treatment the applicant’s country accords the U.S. Under the current rule, L visas are limited to the petition validity period which is determined by USCIS and currently cannot exceed 3 years. An individual in L status may apply for an extension in increments of up to two years, but the total period of stay may not exceed 5 or 7 years for individuals employed in a specialized knowledge or managerial/executive capacity, respectively. The change in regulation allowing for issuance of full validity L visas based on the visa reciprocity schedule will benefit those 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 USCIS and who have extended their L stay while in the United States. As such, these individuals would not be required to apply again for an L visa if they were to travel outside the United States during the period prescribed under the applicable reciprocity schedule, as is currently required when petition validity has been extended. Please note that this change is pending final rule and is not yet effective.