On August 3, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) replaced the endorsed Form I-129S for L-1 blanket petitions with an I-129S approval notice that will now serve as the endorsement.
- USCIS will no longer provide a stamped Form I-129S when an L-1 filed under a previously approved blanket L petition is approved.
- USCIS will now issue an I-129S approval notice.
- The I-129S approval notice can be used to apply for a visa and enter the United States.
Prior to this change, when Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and Form I-129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition) were filed concurrently under a previously approved blanket L petition with USCIS, the agency would issue an I-129 approval notice as well as a stamped Form I-129S. The beneficiary would use the stamped Form I-129S to obtain a visa stamp and for entry to the United States after international travel.
USCIS will continue to issue an approval notice specific to Form I-129. In lieu of a stamped Form I-129S, USCIS will now issue a separate I-129S approval notice, which will serve as the endorsement. The I-129S approval notice can be used for visa application and entry to the United States, as it serves as evidence that “the beneficiary is eligible for L-1 status based on an approved blanket L petition and constitutes an endorsement of Form I-129S.” USCIS confirmed the agency implemented this change to provide petitioners with “quicker, more organized, and more secure processing of Form I-129S, by eliminating the need for USCIS to print, stamp, sign, and annotate the paper form.”
The U.S. Department of State has not announced any changes to procedures for L-1 visa applications based on a previously approved L blanket petition. U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to issue endorsed Forms I-129S after visa application interviews. The change in the I-129S endorsement process is specific only to blanket L-1 petitions filed with USCIS.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available.