U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual clarifying that a sole proprietorship may not file a petition on behalf of its owner because the sole proprietorship does not exist as a distinct legal entity separate and apart from the owner.
This Policy Manual update affirms the existing guidance. The update distinguishes a sole proprietor from a self-incorporated petitioner (such as a corporation or a limited liability company with a single owner), where the corporation or the single member limited liability company is a separate and distinct legal entity from its owner, which may petition for that owner.
This update also clarifies guidance regarding blanket petitions. International organizations file blanket L-1 petitions on behalf of all individual entities named in the petition. USCIS is updating policy guidance to clarify that the failure to timely file an extension of the blanket petition does not trigger the 3-year waiting period before another blanket petition may be filed.
This guidance, contained in Volume 2 of the Policy Manual, is effective immediately. The guidance contained in the Policy Manual is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance on the topic.
The L-1 nonimmigrant visa classification enables a U.S. employer that is part of a qualifying organization to temporarily transfer employees from one of its related foreign offices to locations in the United States. Existing USCIS policy and practice provide that a sole proprietorship may not file an L-1 petition on behalf of its owner.