What is Blanket L Certification

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Many companies like to send their skilled, long-term employees to open new offices and expand into markets. International business executives have been doing this for decades as they build professional footprints, including crucial company functions like hiring workforces, refining office space, teaching operations, and training on procedures and products. For this reason, companies are wise to apply for umbrella programs such as the Blanket L certification


What is it?

This certification is a company focused program that appeals to global organizations that like to move key players from around the globe into the United States. By obtaining pre-approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the corporate relationship between the petitioning employer and its corporate parent, affiliates and subsidiaries, qualifying companies are granted this certification. This makes the process of submitting individual employees for L-visas significantly quicker and easier. 


Why does it matter?

Because time is money, and that’s what this program helps optimize–time spent on visa applications. The L-1 Blanket Certification allows specific employees to bypass the USCIS application process (which typically takes several months) and apply directly for an L-1 visa in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad or at a port-of-entry for Canadian citizens. 


Who can apply for certification?

The L-1 Blanket Petition Program to be used by a company that is a frequent user of the L-1 visa category. Under this program, the approved company need only receive one approval from the USCIS to transfer a certain number of managerial, executive and professional employees.


There are additional requirements on companies, beyond the usual L-1 criteria.  Companies must meet all three of the following requirements to be eligible for the Blanket L:


  • The employer and each of its subsidiaries, branch or affiliates must be in engaged in commercial trade or services; 
  • The company must have an office in the United States that has been doing business in the United States at least one year; and, 
  • The employer must have at least three branches, subsidiaries or affiliates in the United States and abroad.


How long is the Blanket L petition valid?

The Blanket L is initially valid for 3 years.  The Blanket L can be extended indefinitely.  Each employee who enters in L-1 status may be approved for a three year term, renewable up to seven years for L-1A Managers and Executives, or five years for L-1B specialized knowledge employees.


If you’re a company looking to open new offices in the US and move existing staff to build out those operations, you could qualify for a Blanket L certification. Contact our business law attorneys today to learn more about this unique program.