Analysis of new data obtained from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) reveals a dramatic increase in the number of L-1B Non Immigrant visa petitions filed, approved and denied, as well as the number of Requests for Evidence (“RFEs”) issued by the two Service Centers responsible for processing L-1 petitions, the California Service Center (“CSC”) and the Vermont Service Center (“VSC”). This data was released in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by the American Immigration Law Association (“AILA”).

As you can see from the chart below, the data reveals an increase in L-1B denial from 27% in FY2011 to 30% in FY2012 and 34% in FY2013.  These rates mark a distinct trend in steep increases from prior years:  7% in 2007, 22% in 2008, 26% in 2009, and 22% in 2010, despite the fact that there has been no change in the law or regulations related to L-1B visa.

L-1B Chart

The information indicates that USCIS has clearly changed its internal standard for adjudicating L-1B petitions and further, that there may be different internal standards at each of the Service Centers, given the higher number of RFEs and denials from the CSC.

The L-1B visa classification is available to key employees, with specialized knowledge, of multinational companies (called “intracompany transferees”). The L-1B visa requires that the employee has been employed abroad for one full year during the preceding three years by a foreign entity related to the U.S. company as a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate who has acquired specialized knowledge of the company’s business, operations, services and/or products.


Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Corporate Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or