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Business Immigration

USCIS Clarifies Policy on Sole Proprietorships in Immigration Petitions

Overview: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued policy guidance to reaffirm that a sole proprietorship cannot file a petition on behalf of its owner due to the absence of separate legal identity. This update emphasizes the distinction between sole proprietors and self-incorporated petitioners, clarifying eligibility for immigration petitions.

Key Points:

Sole Proprietorship Limitation: The updated guidance underscores that a sole proprietorship is ineligible to submit a petition for its owner, as it lacks legal separateness from the owner.

Distinguishing Entities: It distinguishes sole proprietors from self-incorporated entities like corporations or single-member limited liability companies, which possess distinct legal identities apart from their owners and can petition on their behalf.

Blanket Petition Clarification: The update also provides clarity regarding blanket petitions filed by international organizations. Failure to timely extend a blanket petition does not impose a 3-year waiting period before filing another blanket petition.

This guidance, effective immediately, is outlined in Volume 2 of the Policy Manual and supersedes prior related guidance. The L-1 visa classification facilitates the temporary transfer of employees from a qualifying foreign office to U.S. locations within the same organization. Sole proprietorships remain ineligible to file L-1 petitions for their owners, in line with existing USCIS policy.

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