Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

USCIS Designates Two ‘Adopted Decisions,’ Establishing Policy Guidance


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently designated two decisions of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) as “adopted decisions,” meaning that they “establish policy guidance that applies to and binds all USCIS employees.” USCIS directs its personnel to follow the reasoning in these decisions in similar cases. 

Matter of Z-A-. USCIS designated Matter of Z-A-, Inc., as an adopted decision on April 14, 2016. This AAO decision clarifies that when determining whether the beneficiary of an L-1A nonimmigrant classification will primarily manage an essential function, USCIS officers must weigh all relevant factors including, as pertinent in the instant case, evidence of the beneficiary’s role within the wider qualifying international organization. 

Specifically, the decision notes:

  1. While an L-1A function manager may use his or her business expertise to perform some operational or administrative tasks, he or she primarily must manage an essential function. 
  2. To determine whether a beneficiary’s job duties will be primarily managerial in nature, an adjudicating officer must consider the totality of the record and weigh all relevant factors, including the nature and scope of the petitioner’s business; the petitioner’s organizational structure, staffing levels, and the beneficiary’s position within the petitioner’s organization; the scope of the beneficiary’s authority; the work performed by other staff within the petitioner’s organization, including whether those employees relieve the beneficiary from performing operational and administrative duties; and any other factors that will contribute to understanding a beneficiary’s actual duties and role in the business. 
  3. When staffing levels are considered in determining whether an individual will act as a manager, an officer must also take into account relevant evidence in the record concerning the reasonable needs of the organization as a whole, including any related entities within the “qualifying organization,” giving consideration to the organization’s overall purpose and stage of development. 

Matter of H-V-P-. USCIS designated Matter of H-V-P- as an adopted decision on March 9, 2016. This AAO decision clarifies that in addition to primary care physicians, medical specialists who agree to practice in any area designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as having a shortage of health care professionals may be eligible for the physician national interest waiver under INA § 203(b)(2)(B)(ii). 

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