Ownership and Control for Qualifying Relationship

Establishing a qualifying relationship between entities hinges on ownership and control. In the L1 visa context, “ownership” signifies the legal right to possess assets with complete control, while “control” denotes the authority to oversee entity establishment and operations. The Matter of Church Scientology International has paved the way for religious organizations to align with these standards.

Criteria for Qualifying Relationship Between Religious Entities

According to the Matter of Church Scientology International, religious organizations now adhere to the same L1 visa standards applied to businesses. While religious personnel need to meet these criteria, ownership and control in religious organizations can extend to pastoral and doctrinal aspects, further enhancing the applicability of L1 visas to non-profit religious entities.

Congressional Intent: L1 Provisions for International Businesses

L1 visas were initially crafted to facilitate personnel transfers within international businesses, reflecting the congressional intent. However, religious personnel can qualify for L1 visas or Schedule A, Group IV labor certifications if they meet the exact L1 visa requirements as business personnel. This highlights the importance of adhering to these standards.

Uneven Past Decisions and the Way Forward

Inconsistent standards for determining qualifying relationships have been observed in the past. Nonetheless, it’s imperative to understand that religious personnel are not exempt from meeting L1 eligibility criteria. This ensures uniformity in adjudicating L1 and Schedule A, Group IV cases.


The Matter of Church Scientology International has clarified the L1 visa application process for non-profit religious organizations. It underscores the shared ownership and control standards, aligning religious entities with business requirements. When seeking an L1 visa for a non-profit spiritual organization, a thorough understanding of the qualifying relationship, ownership, and control conditions is essential. By navigating these intricacies, non-profit religious organizations can streamline their application process, ensuring a smoother journey toward securing L1 visas.

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