We practitioners who routinely handle L-1 Visa Petitions can identify with the concerns and problems caused by erroneous Visa and I-94 issuance, referred to by SJD's letter, because we occasionally see these situations, and must advise our clients on the proper course of action. My solution is simply, "the Petition controls". Notwithstanding a consular-issued Visa, or CIS issued I-94, no Visa or I-94 could ever be presumed valid if it purports to go beyond the Petition expiration date. The old "two wrongs don't make a right" situation, resulting in a "house with no foundation". If the L-1 Petition is timely renewed, I do not believe it would be necessary to obtain a new Visa if the Visa extends beyond the old Petition expiration date, because the "foundation" would have been put back under the house, keeping it from toppling. The underlying consular mistake would be merely technical - no harm no foul. If the I-94 is granted beyond the Petition expiration date, it will be renewed as a part of the Petition extension, and the date of the new Petition, and accompanying extension of stay, will control. But, if the Petition is not renewed, and if the alien relies only on the face of the Visa and/or I-94, and continues to enter the US on the Visa, or continue to remain in the US pursuant to an erroneous I-94, after the Petition expires, he or she may creating a situation that could at least result in an argument with CIS, an argument that, because as a matter of law they are not in compliance, they just may lose. In advising a client on these types of issues, I always take the logical path of least resistance. Simply keep the Petition (and Visa and I-94, of course) current. Problems solved and, another good reason why it is important for individuals and companies to consult competent immigration counsel for all their immigration needs, no matter how simple they, on their face, may at first appear.
David D. Murray, Esq.
Newport Beach, CA
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