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Dear Editor:
I would just like to say that with all the talk of proposed legislation to further restrict the L1 program, I continue to be amazed at the number of mistakes made by consular officials as well as port of entry inspectors in issuing L visas and granting authorizations of stay in L status. Before we consider changing the rules, we might try ensuring that the current rules are disseminated to and followed by all those charged with their enforcement. What I often see, particularly from European Consulates, are visas being issued for the entire 5 or 7 years, even though the petition only requested the initial 3. In one case, the applicant applied at the Consulate for a visa after having already obtained an L extension from a CIS Service Center. The petition, approved in 2002, extended her L status for the remaining 2 years left toward her 5 years, and was set to expire in May of 2004. A Consulate abroad granted a visa to her in 2002 valid until January of 2007 - that's right seven, when she had already been in the U.S in L status for 3 years. Such a visa is not supported by the underlying petition, and in fact the PED Date was not listed on the visa stamp at all. As if this weren't problematical enough, when the individual entered the US, the inspector gave her an arbitrary authorized stay until January of 2004, several months shy of her original 5/04 petition expiration. On a subsequent entry into the U.S. another inspector gave her an arbitary authorized stay of January 2006. Do they pull these dates out of a bloody hat? I have seen countless examples of L-1 visa holders being granted an authorized stay of 5 years even though their Visa and PED (Petition Expiration Date) were expiring in 2 or 3. L-1 principals with authorized stays consistent with the visa and PED, while their spouses and children have authorized stays of 5 years. How can it be that there is so much governmental mishandling of such a prominent visa category? This overly generous granting of visas and authorized stays, though it may appear to be favorable to an alien, actually wreaks quite a bit of havoc because, though the erroneous I-94 says one is allowed to remain for 3 years beyond the L-1 cap, should an alien actually do so, she would become subject to the potentially dire consequences of the overstay.