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Duration of Stay

An alien may be admitted to the United States in L-1 status for the period of time required by the employer, up to a maximum initial period of stay of three years. The total period stay may reach seven years for L-1A managers and executives, and five years for L-1B specialize knowledge personnel. In a change from the law existing before the 1990 Act, additional periods of stay beyond these limits cannot be granted based on a showing of extraordinary circumstances.

Effect on period of stay of switch from specialized knowledge to managerial/executive duties. Because of the differentiation in limits on stay for executives/managers and specialized knowledge personnel, the classification of the L-1 employee has become increasingly important. Some transferees characterized as specialized knowledge personnel might also have been able to qualify as managerial or executive personnel; in addition, some specialized knowledge employees may have changed predominantly to managerial or executive duties after their admission to the United States. The INS rules require that the specialized knowledge employee have been performing executive or managerial duties for the preceding six months in order to obtain an extension of stay beyond the five-year limit for specialized knowledge employees. It is important to note, however, that the change of job duties from specialized knowledge to managerial or executive must be documented to the INS through the filing of an amended L-1 petition. In an Administrative Appeals Office decision, it was held that an extension beyond the fifth year is not permissible when the INS was never notified through an amended petition that the L-1 alien's duties had changed from specialized knowledge to managerial, as required by 8 C.F.R. Section 214.2(1)(7)(i)(C). The AAO decision still leaves unclear whether an extension beyond the fifth year may be granted when the L-1 alien was also qualified as a manager at the time that the original L-1 petition was filed on the basis of specialized knowledge.




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