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The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a policy memorandum to clarify about the L-1 category visas, often used by Indian technology services companies for intra-company transfers.

The policy memorandum clarified that a qualifying organisation “employ a principal L-1 beneficiary abroad for one continuous year out of the three years before the time of petition filing”.

The memorandum further clarified that the L-1 beneficiary must be physically outside the United States during the required one continuous year of employment, except for brief trips to the United States for business or pleasure.

L-1 visas are issued for intra-company transfers. For instance, when an Infosys executive moves from India to the company’s office in the US, it will be on an L-1 visa. But if the same executive is going the US for working at client site, then he will be issued an H-1 visa.

The petitioner must also meet all these requirements at the time of filing a petition, the USCIS further said.

The Indian IT industry has for long been awaiting greater clarity on the use of L-1 visas.

The fate of L-1 visas has been uncertain due to rising rejection rates, soaring visa fees and a fewer number of renewals.

The US government is reviewing all immigration and visa programmes as part of its Buy American Hire American, subjecting applications to greater scrutiny.