Changes in H and L Visa Processing in China
Friday, February 1, 2019
Visa Processing in the US

The Department of State (DOS) and Mission China announced that changes have been made to consolidate the processing in China of H and L visa applications for foreign nationals seeking to work in the United States. Starting March 1, 2019, all interviews for H and L visas will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy Beijing, U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou, and U.S. Consulate General Shanghai. The U.S. Consulate General Chengdu and U.S. Consulate General Shenyang will no longer be conducting H or L visa interviews. These changes are a result of the volume and complexity of H and L visa petitions, and will ensure adequate resources and expertise are effectively applied in reviewing the petitions.

H-1B, Specialty Occupation, is a visa that allows U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. Specialty occupation fields include, but are not limited to: architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts.

L-1A, Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager, is a visa classification that allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. The L-1A visa also allows a foreign company, which may not already have an affiliated U.S. office, to send an executive or manager to the U.S. with the purpose of establishing one.

L-1B, Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge, allows a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interest from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its U.S. offices. The L-1B visa also allows a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.

GT will continue to monitor and report on changes in consular processing that can impact the visa application process.

To read more on U.S. business immigration developments as relates to China, click here.

This post was written by  Lou Metsu who is not admitted to the practice of law.