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The State Department published a pending final rule that permits the issuance of L visas with validity periods based on the visa reciprocity schedule.

Current State Department regulations require that L visa duration be limited to the validity period of the petition, which, under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, cannot exceed three years. Petitioners may apply to USCIS for extension of petition validity in increments of up to two years, but the total period of stay may not exceed five years for foreign nationals employed in a specialized knowledge capacity or seven years for foreign nationals employed in a managerial or executive capacity.

As a result of the change, L visa validity will be governed by 22 CFR § 41.112, rather than 22 CFR § 41.54(c), which provides that a nonimmigrant visa shall have the validity prescribed in schedules provided to consular officers by the State Department. These schedules reflect the reciprocal treatment the applicant’s country accords U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents or foreign nationals granted refugee status in the United States. The change will mostly benefit beneficiaries of petitions for L status who are nationals of countries for which the reciprocity schedule prescribes visa validity for a longer period of time.