Blanket L-1 applicants are now subject to a stricter legal test than before, which requires consular officers to deny L-1 Blanket applicants if they have "any doubt" about an applicant's qualifications.
This change will likely result in more L-1 Blanket refusals at the consulate, as consular officers are now directed to implement a tougher legal standard for these cases.
The new language, included in a March 30 revision to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), states: "If you [consular officer] have any doubt whether an applicant has fulfilled his or her burden of proof, you must deny the visa." You can view a copy of the recently updated FAM here. This change was implemented as a recent part of the Trump administration's plans to tighten the restrictions of employment-based visas, detailed in President Trump's "Buy American and Hire American"executive order.
Previously, consular officers were required to adjudicate L-1 blanket applicants based on a "preponderance of the evidence" standard. This legal standard means that a consular officer must find that there is a greater than 50% chance that an applicant qualifies for the visa.
If you have any questions regarding this recent change or would like to discuss how to best strengthen your company's L-1 Blanket applications, please contact Ayla Kremen Adomat, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org.