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Guide to Reasons for an L-1 Visa Denial

In 2021, the L-1 Visa had about a 94% approval rating

However, there was still close to a 6% denial reason. While the odds are in your favor, there are still some factors that could result in your visa denial. 

Keep reading to learn all about what can cause an L-1 Visa denial and what you can do about it. 

Didn’t Show Eligibility

There are two different categories that you can apply for with the L-1 Visa, and each of them has specific requirements. Both the employer and the employee need to fill it out to show that you meet the eligibility requirements. 

The U.S. employer has to be a parent company, brand, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. They have to be doing business in the United States and one other country for the entirety of the person’s visa stay. 

Doing business means that the company has to be exchanging or providing goods and services. They have to actively be running the business, not just maintain a presence in another country. 

Some categories of the L-1 Visa also require that the employee be acting as a manager or an executive of the company. However, these definitions can vary when it comes to the L-1 Visa. 

If you don’t provide or demonstrate that you meet some of these requirements, they could deny your visa.

Lack of Specialized Knowledge

Some of the L-1 Visas are being rejected because the employer can’t prove that the employee has the specialized knowledge that the company actually needs in the American branch.

The employee has to have special knowledge that no other American can possess. If this can’t be proven, then your visa will likely be rejected.

To improve your chances of having the visa approved, provide training to the employee and ensure they have that special knowledge before you submit an application for the visa. 

Incorrectly Submitted Documents

You’ll need to submit many documents for this visa, and the application process can be long and difficult. Even making just one error can result in disapproval.

For example, the job title or job description could be wrong, or you might even upload it in the wrong way. This can hurt your chances for approval.

Since the process is so meticulous, it might be best to work with an immigration lawyer who has that specific knowledge. 

Business Growth

People in charge of approving the L-1 Visas also consider the growth of the businesses and organizations sponsoring the visa. The company has to prove that they have a real business, but they also have to show how much they impact the U.S. economy. 

The business will need to submit a business plan to show how they plan to grow and impact the economy. Having a plan isn’t enough, however, you’ll also need to show as many details as you can. 

Some businesses will try to exaggerate their growth projections, which could be a cause for denial. 


Politics play a major factor in L-1 Visa rates as well. The adjudicators are supposed to decide on each visa based on its merits, but politics has started to affect the decisions as well. 

Some Americans are worried that these foreign workers will take jobs away from Americans, and the politicians will try to alleviate these fears in order to be re-elected. Some politicians have tried to squash the number of approved visas, while others advocate for foreign workers to apply for these jobs. 

Salary Standards

Another reason a lot of the applications for these visas are denied is that the wage of the employee is less than the standards that are set in the United States.

To improve the chances of approval, employers should review their wage standards and ensure that their employee is being paid fairly based on their industry and location.

What to Do if They Deny Your Visa

If they deny your visa, you can still explore why your application was rejected. If it was denied, you can reapply just three days after being rejected. 

However, even though you can submit the new application, you might not likely have a different result. Your circumstances probably won’t change in just three days, so you might want to wait for at least six months before applying again. 

Getting a visa rejection doesn’t mean you don’t have any other options. You can also appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office. However, they receive many requests and can take months to respond. 

You should also explore other visas that you could apply for. You might not meet all of the requirements for the L-1 Visa, but there are other visas that are great for entrepreneurs. 

The entire process can be challenging, and it’s easy to get discouraged. However, with the right immigration lawyer on your side, you can improve your chances of getting approval. 

The lawyer will know all the ins and outs of immigration law and know how to present your case in a way that wins you an approval. They’ll have all the knowledge and know what route is the best one to take.

Learn More About Why Your L-1 Visa Was Denied

These are only a few reasons why your L-1 Visa might be declined, but since there are so many requirements, it could be any number of reasons.

The best way to improve your chances of having the visa approved is to work with an immigration lawyer who specializes in L-1 Visas.

If you’re interested in talking with a lawyer, send us a message using our online contact form, or get in touch us at (305)921-9665.

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