In June 2020, President Trump shut down the L-1 Visa route as a measure to protect American jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. This suspension naturally came to an end on March 31, 2021, as the validity of the temporary ban expired. President Joe Biden chose not to renew the ban to help the US economy recover post-covid.
What Is the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa?
The L-1 Visa allows international business owners and managers to immigrate to the US office of the same company they are currently working in. The applicant must be a senior-level manager or executive, or someone with specialized knowledge about the operations of the enterprise.
The L-1A visa allows business managers and executives to transfer to the US office for up to 7 years. The L-1B visa is for employees with specialized knowledge to work in the US office for up to 5 years.
The L-1 Visa applicants can bring their accompanying spouse and dependent children on their application. The accompanying spouse will also be eligible for a work permit in the US.
Why Was the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa Banned?
The Trump administration temporarily banned the L-1 and the H-1B Visa last year as a measure to protect American jobs during the economic uncertainty of the global pandemic. This ban was extended till March 31, 2021, before President Trump left office. As President Biden opted not to renew the ban, it naturally came to an end on March 31. This means that the L-1 Visa category is now open to new applications and will continue its operation under the new Covid-19 related guidelines and restrictions.
How Will the L-1 Intercompany Visa Be Processed During the Pandemic?
Despite the worldwide travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, many L-1 Visas were granted a National Interest Waiver to travel to the US. However, as the category reopens after a year, it can be expected that a lot of demand will lead to a backlog of applications and a delay in processing. On top of that, due to a reduction in consular operations, there will be many obstacles in applying for this category.