Interested in transitioning from an L1 visa to a green card? As an L1 visa holder, you are likely a qualifying executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee who has been transferred from a foreign office to an office in the United States. In this guide, we discuss the steps to transition from an L1 visa to a permanent U.S. residence.
Two L1 Visa Categories
The two categories of L1 visas, L1A and L1B, have different routes to a green card. The L1A visa offers a straightforward route under the EB1C employment-based immigration category as a Multinational Manager or Executive. Conversely, L1B visa holders must undergo the labor certification process and obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor before they can transition to a green card.
L1A Visa to Green Card
For L1A visa holders, the green card application is straightforward. The employer files Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the EB1C category. However, there are certain requirements that the applicant and the petitioner should meet to qualify for the EB1C category.
L1B Visa to Green Card
On the other hand, L1B visa holders must go through the Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) process, similar to H1B and TN visa holders. The most common paths to a green card for L1B visa holders are through the EB2 or EB3 employment-based preference categories.
In both cases, the employer, who serves as the petitioner, is responsible for initiating the green card process. Exceptions exist for company owners seeking US permanent residence while on an L1A visa, but typically, self-petitioning is not an option for those on an L1 visa.
What are the Employment-Based (EB) preference categories for immigrant visas?
What is the Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) process?
Additional Outside Resources
- L Visas (L-1A and L-1B) for Temporary Workers
- USCIS: Form I-797, Types and Functions
- L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
- I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
- I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
We Can Help!
Don’t know where to start? The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have hundreds of 5-star client reviews and decades of experience helping foreign nationals on L1 visas to obtain US permanent residence (green cards). We offer several levels of L1 Visa legal services to fit your needs.