Your Options If Your L-1 or H1B Visa is Denied


Many U.S. companies require a sizeable and regular supply of highly skilled, temporary workers from overseas to ensure they remain competitive. L-1 or H1B visas are required to bring these specialist workers to the United States.

Although these visas allow companies to employ people who may have skills sets they can’t obtain in the local area, there’s no guarantee the visas will be granted.

Your options when an L-1 visa is denied

Congress created the L-1 classification in 1970 to allow companies that have operations in a number of countries to move personnel to the United States. These are temporary visas, even if the job that is being filled is not temporary in nature. Executives and managers fall under the L1A classification.

Four criteria are set out by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to apply for the visas. If you are considering applying for an L-1 visa, you should make sure you answer these four questions affirmatively to find out if the worker you have in mind will qualify.

To successfully apply for an L-1 visa, the employee in question must be an intra-company transferee, and must have worked with your company abroad for one continuous year out of the last three.

If the employee does not work for your company, you can apply for an H1B visa. However, the recipient must work in a specialty occupation and hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in a specialized field of knowledge. Unlike the L-1 visa, there is an annual cap on the number of H1B visas that are issued. See our website for more details on the cap.

What To Do If a Temporary Work Visa is Denied

Usually, if your work has been denied, we have 30 days to either:

1 Appeal the decision;

2 File a motion to re-open.

Initially, we will look carefully at your case. You may have failed to meet one of the basic criteria. For example, you may have applied for an L-1 Visa for someone who is not employed at your company or be seeking an H1B visa for an applicant who lacks the necessary educational qualifications. One of the most common grounds for the denial of L-1A petitions is when an employee is judged not to be acting in a managerial capacity. This can be open to interpretation.

However, immigration officials can and do make mistakes. We have often successfully re-opened cases by bringing in new evidence or highlighting how evidence was misrepresented.

In such cases, motions to reopen can be very effective. Immigration officials are often overworked and can fail to pick up on evidence that’s relevant to an application.

Appeals are filed with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). In most cases appeals take six months to be decided, which can be problematic for the company that applied for the visa. However, in some cases, an appeal can be lodged in a U.S. District Court, where the process is usually faster.

If you are considering applying for an L-1 or H1B visa or your application has been denied, our Texas immigration attorneys may be able to help you. We have offices in Austin and Houston. Call our experienced immigration team at  (512) 399-2311.

Share To: