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Biden Reverses Trump-era Policy on Visa Rejection Procedure

Immigration officers can no longer reject visa applications without first issuing a Notice of Intent to Deny

By Tishita Agarwal

In 2018, the Trump administration set a policy that would allow immigration officers to reject visa applications for visas such as the H1-B Visas, L-1 Visas, H-2B, J-1, J-2, I, F and O-1 visas, without issuing a Notice of Intent to Deny. This Trump-era policy invalidated the principle of a June 2013 USCIS memo that required immigration officers to issue a Request For Evidence or a Notice Of Intent to Deny when the case suggests that additional or supplementary evidence could potentially establish eligibility for an immigration benefit. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a statement that it was returning to the principles of the June 2013 memo. This means the officers will be allowed to request potential missing documents that could qualify a case. Furthermore, this move will not only help requesters get an “opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions”, but also increase access to the US legal immigration system in general. 

This is not the first time that Biden has overturned immigration policies set by the Trump administration. In fact, right on the first day of his term, President Biden had announced several executive policy changes to the US immigration system, including suspending the construction of the wall at the Mexican border and reaffirming protections for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

Along with changing their guidance towards notice of intent to deny and requests for evidence, the USCIS issued a statement that they are also increasing the validity period for certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) from one year to two years. Increasing the validity for these documents will allow the USCIS to shift their limited resources to priority areas, as it is projected to reduce the number of employment authorisation requests they receive. 

These recent decisions are all steps in the direction the Biden-Harris administration promised at the start of their term in an effort to make immigration to the US easier and fairer and eliminate unnecessary barriers on all levels; as put by the Secretary of Homeland security Alejandro N. Mayorkas: “We are taking action to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system and will continue to make improvements that help individuals navigate the path to citizenship, and that modernise our immigration system”. 

In furtherance to the same, Acting USCIS Director also said “These policy measures are consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities to eliminate unnecessary barriers to our nation’s legal immigration system and reduce burdens on non-citizens who may be eligible for immigration benefits”.

While this action is in the right direction, the Biden-Harris administration has far to go before the US legal immigration system is not as congested and inefficient as it is currently. 

What is the L-1 Visa?

* The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which can be used by active US employers or those who wish to establish in the US to send experienced and skilled employees from overseas to the US to grow or expand the business. There are two types of this temporary work visa – the L-1A is for executives and managers, and the L-1B visa is suited for high-level employees with specialised knowledge. 

What is the O-1 Visa?

The O-1 visa on the other hand, requires the applicant to show remarkable skill or high levels of achievement in their field to be able to qualify. This is also a nonimmigrant visa, and is suitable for candidates that possess and demonstrate an extraordinary ability in science, the arts, education, business, athletics, or film & television and a variety of other professions. This means that a candidate must have sustained national or international acclaim in their field, or a distinction or record of extraordinary achievement in film and television. An O-1 beneficiary must possess either a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or at least 3 of the alternative criteria.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


L-1 Visa information

L-1 Visa Approvals as Trump’s Covid-Related Ban on the Visa Expires

As President Trump’s temporary ban on the L-1 Visa lifts, our firm is seeing a rise in L-1 visa approvals.

By advocating for our clients, they have been able to overcome the challenges and difficulties created by governmental policies and the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the stories of two of our clients who secured their respective L-1A visas, as well as L-2 visas for their dependents.


The L-1 Visa Employee Transfer Visa route to the US was shut down by President Trump as part of measures to fight Coronavirus introduced in June 2020. The L-1 visa is used to transfer employees between the overseas office and the US office of the same multinational company. However, our firm also specializes in “New Office” L-1 Visas, which allow overseas business owners and managers to move to the US to establish and grow a new US office of their existing business.

Reopening of the L-1 Visa Route to the United States

The ban on the L-1 Visa (together with the H-1B visa) elapsed naturally on March 31, 2021 and President Biden chose not to renew it. While some L-1 visa issuances were permitted during Covid, the end of the ban means the L-1 Visa category has reopened without restriction. That said, Covid-related challenges still persist: Applicants continue to face COVID-related travel bans/restrictions as well as reduced Embassy operations.

Here are the stories of two of our clients.

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa Approval: Travel & Tourism Sector

One of the clients is a full-time as Managing Manager of a travel and tourism company. The company is engaged in in the online B2B hotel booking market, which offers over 300,000 hotels and 50,000 apartments globally, with facilities to book transfers and sightseeing tours. With their innovative software products, with over 25,000 registered agents in 35 countries, they have decided to expand the concept to the US market.  With the L-1A visa in hand, he can now enter the US to manage the US company and take advantage of the opportunity in the travel and tourism sector as the world slowly reopens.

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa Approval: Fashion & Wholesale Sectors

The other client is a Market Research Manager of a wholesaler and exporter of singular jewelry and stylish evening bags of the finest quality as well as beautifully hand-constructed pillows, cushions and table mats. The foreign company has enjoyed success in terms of both revenue and opportunity. Given the international nature of the market in which the foreign company conducts its business, together with its growing roster of U.S. based clients, they have decided to establish presence in the US through an affiliate company and transfer the client to the US as Business Development Manager.

The range of handcrafted home furnishings, handbags, jewelry, scarfs and other merchandise are truly uniquely designed, differentiating themselves from others engaged in the accessories’ marketplace. These timeless pieces are created by artisans with a history of crafting products not ordinarily found online or being mass-produced. The L-1A beneficiary will incorporate management of essentially all substantive areas, functions and processes to be followed by the U.S. affiliated company. She will also serve as the ultimate director and manager of all U.S. employees.

What is the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa?

The L-1A visa allows international managers and executives to move to work in the US office of the same company for up to a maximum of seven years. If there is not yet a US office, our firm can help set one up and ensure it is L-1 compliant. The L-1B visa allows an employee with specialized knowledge to move to the US office for a maximum of five years. The initial visa validity will not be granted for the full five or seven years. The initial validity for a New Office L-1 is up to one year, and for all other L-1s depends upon your country of origin. After this it is possible to renew in installments up to 7 years, or switch to another visa which offers permanent residency (Green Card) – see EB1(c) visas. Spouses and children under the age of 21 can move to the US with you and spouses can apply for work authorization.

Watch Another one of our L-1 Clients Explain how we Helped him Obtain an L-1 Visa During Covid.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


L-1A Intracompany Transfer Visa Client Testimonial

India L-1 Visa Client Testimonial

Davies & Associates helped a client from India obtain an L-1A Intracompany Transfer Visa despite the pandemic. The L-1A Visa allows for the transfer of a management or executive-level employee from the overseas office to the US office of the same company. The L-1B Visa allows the same for an employee with specialized knowledge.

It is possible to set-up a new US office and transfer yourself or a member of staff to the U.S. to grow the U.S. operation. L-1 Visa applicants can take a spouse and children under the age of 21 with them. Spouses can apply for work authorization.

The L-1A Visa is limited to a maximum of 7 years and the L-1B visa is limited for a maximum of 5 years. The validity of the initial visa will be less than the maximum and initial validity depends upon country of origin and whether or not the applicant is applying for a New Office L1.

The L-1 has no annual quotas. It is possible to transition to a Green Card. Typically this is through the EB-1C visa but the EB-3 visa is also an applicable option.

Learn more about the L-1 Visa by clicking here.

View our latest L-1 Visa Client Testimonial Here

In the words of the client:

“I am pleased to say that with the help of Davies and associates actually significant amount of help from them we have made a successful application and in the next few weeks i will start my new role with my uh existing uh organization uh nowhere was i felt that you know this is out of depth very very clear expectations in terms of uh personal documents that are needed workplace documents that are needed subsidiary company documents that are needed you know and this is the first attempt from my organization site to uh transfer uh indian workers uh or indian managers i would say uh to the us uh for uh managerial and senior managerial roles it took us some time there were a few road uh roadblocks along the way where um suddenly due to cove 19 the u.s immigration services made a temporary ban on issuance of visa but the organization which is u.s immigration services division associates were very very clear in communicating to me that this is a temporary hurdle and there are uh options available to us right so yes it took us nine months uh with certain changes uh significant changes in the u.s immigration policy and yet nine months later we’ve had a successful application converted to a visa for three years and uh i myself am going to be going back to them uh for a eb1c um later this year so yes overall they’re 10 on 10 in terms of feedback in terms of transparency of the process documentation was up to mark in fact there was a point where i was kind of wondering the amount of documentation that we have generated would somebody actually read through it and they actually read through everything they designed a business plan around the documents that were submitted uh and we moved forward very very quickly uh once everything was you know as per expectation so they kept going back to the drawing board until they were satisfied that the us immigration services will be satisfied with the uh our case application that we have provided and you know that’s the type of people you want in your team uh when you’re making uh an application uh visa application in a challenging uh immigration policy environment that we faced in 2020 so overall i i just want to say thank you and i appreciate all the hard work that uh Davies and associates and their consultants and their lawyers did on my behalf so thank you very much Davies and associates we’re a full service immigration law firm we have a core team of immigration specialists that will guide you through every step of the visa process in addition to that we have a core corporate team our corporate lawyers assist our foreign clients such as investors entrepreneurs foreign businesses seeking to expand or invest into the united states with a full suite of corporate services this can involve company formation and the drafting of key corporate documents establishing the u.s bank accounts and getting the necessary tax id numbers reviewing a commercial lease amongst many other items that our clients find necessary and useful for their business in their early stage operations in the united states”


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Immigration Check

Obtaining an L-1 Visa Despite President Trump’s Ban

The L-1 Visa allows for the transfer of qualifying staff to the existing or newly established U.S. office of the same company.


By Verdie Atienza, Senior Attorney in Charge of L-1 & E2 Visa Practice

A prospective L-1A beneficiary from India approached our firm sometime in June 2020 to seek assistance in filing an L-1A petition for him. During that time, Former President Donald Trump had already imposed a ban on the issuance of the L-1A visa until December 31, 2020.

The client was a General Manager of a manufacturing and exports company in India which exports exports fully machined sand casts / die casts and other sheet metal pressed components made of aluminum alloys, zinc alloys, copper alloys, stainless steel, mild steel, and cast iron.

Our firm advised the client that despite the ban, USCIS continues to accept  and process L-1A petitions. We suggested that it was a good time to take advantage of the period of time to prepare the L-1A petition so that he would have an approval of the petition by the time the ban lapses. The client was fully informed that there was a risk for the ban to be extended beyond December 31, 2020. The client decided to move forward with the L-1A process as per the firm’s advice.

In the L-1A petition that D&A prepared, the US company requested that the beneficiary be transferred as a Senior Strategic Project Manager. The US company was established as a product distributor, but it has grown to become a value-added manufacturer in North America, with expanding supply chain in China and India.

We explained in detail that the L-1A beneficiary’s role at the US company will involve incorporating management of essentially all substantive areas, functions, and processes. The petition also outlined how  he will also serve as the ultimate director and manager of the lJ .S. employees constituting the Strategic Project Management Team.

The L-1A petition was approved without RFE and the L-1A beneficiary immediately applied  for the visa in India. Despite the fact that the ban was extended to March 3, 2021, the client, with D&A’s guidance, was able to schedule a visa appointment and obtain the L-1A visa in the midst of a pandemic where lockdowns, travel and quarantine restrictions are in place.

D&A was able to successfully explain that the applicant is a a senior-level manager  who has spent multiple years with the company overseas, indicating a substantial knowledge and expertise within the organization and that he will fill a critical business need for the employer meeting a critical infrastructure need in a designated industry.

Benefits of L-1 Visa

  • Set up and grow a new U.S. office
  • Can be used for managers & executives (L-1A) or employees with specialized knowledge (L-1B)
  • Take spouse and dependent children with you
  • Spouses can apply for work authorization in U.S.
  • No annual caps or quotas based upon country of origin
  • “Dual Intent” – you can pursue lawful permanent residency status during your stay in America

Watch our Video on the L-1 Visa

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-5 Visa, L-1 Visa, E-2 Visa

“Immigration Ban” Relaxed for H-1B and L-1 Visa Holders Returning to Same Job

By Maxine Philavong

After several lawsuits that were backed by large U.S. companies, the Trump administration relaxed part of its so-called “immigration ban” on foreign nationals, permitting those on H-1B and L-1 visas to return to their previous held employment in the U.S..

In April, the administration barred all foreign nationals who did not previously hold a valid visa from working in the U.S. for 60 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In June, President Trump signed an executive order extending their ban of all workers with a H-1B and L-1 visa, until the end of the year.

This meant that if a person had been waiting for these visas to be issued, or if you already had either of these visas but were waiting for it to get stamped, said person would have now had to wait until at least the end of the year.

The ban put thousands of foreigners waiting for their visas outside of the U.S. in a tough spot. For new visa holders waiting in their home country and those with a visa who had traveled to their home countries for stamping now found themselves barred from returning to the U.S. until the end of the year. Many feared job loss if they were not permitted to return.

Moreover, dependents of the visa holders were impacted, too. If a spouse of the visa holder had traveled to their home country to get their visa stamped but could not secure an appointment before the ban, they may have found themselves stuck in their home country.

However, after pushback from lawsuits that were back by large companies like Apple and Microsoft, the Trump administration has relaxed part of the ban.

Who Qualifies for the H-1B and L-1 Visa Exception?

After relaxing the ban on H-1B and L-1 Visa applications, the Trump administration favors those who qualify for national interest exception. This applies for those who are aiding in the fight against Covid-19 or those whose positions aid in economic recovery in the U.S. Meaning, there special exception for H-1b applications who are “technical specialists, senior level managers, and other workers whose travel is necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S.”

Additionally, for both visa categories, the administration grants exception to those “seeking to resume ongoing employment in the U.S., in the same position, with the same employer and with the same via classification.”

Those traveling under the H-1B and L-1 visa to the U.S. should be able to prove at least two of the five criteria: “Their employer has a continued need for their work even during the pandemic; they make a significant contribution to a critical infrastructure need; they are paid at least 15% more than the prevailing wage; they have an unusual expertise in the industry; or that their employer would suffer financial hardship if their via was denied.”

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.

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