United States: Chennai Consulate Begins Consolidated Processing of Indian Blanket L-1 Visas
Starting December 1, the Department of State will consolidate the processing of blanket L-1 visas in India at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai. Foreign nationals applying for L-1A and L-1B visas in India under their employer’s blanket petition will be required to travel to Chennai for interviews and processing.
Consolidated processing only applies to principal applicants applying under a blanket petition. Foreign nationals seeking L visas in India based on an individual petition approved by USCIS are not required to apply in Chennai. Likewise, dependant family members of L-1 blanket applicants will still be able to apply for L-2 visas at their nearest U.S. Consulate and will not be required to travel to Chennai with the principal.
The consolidation is being implemented following a recommendation by the DOS Office of the Inspector General, which has asserted that more supervision and centralization is necessary at the U.S. Consulates in India. DOS has reportedly trained a core group of consular officers to handle blanket L-1 applications at Chennai.
What the Consolidation Means for Foreign Nationals and Their Employers
The consolidation of blanket L-1 processing at Chennai will mean significant inconvenience to those visa applicants who must travel long distances to get to their appointments.
Consolidation may also mean longer waits for visa appointments. The Consulate has indicated that it has sufficient staff to meet the demand for blanket L-1 appointments and has been instructed to expedite appointments for applicants who live outside the Chennai consular district, but foreign nationals and their employers should expect some delays.
The Chennai Consulate will be holding an attorney meeting in mid-December at which it is expected to discuss consolidated processing. Representatives from Fragomen will be attending the conference. We will be closely monitoring blanket L-1 processing in Chennai and will provide updates as the new system gets underway.