L1 Visa to Green Card

L1 Visa status is available for qualifying executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees. Under the L1 Visa qualifying employees may be transferred from a foreign office to an office in the United States. In some cases, the L1 visa can be transitioned to US permanent residence or a green card. We discuss the process of applying for a green card while on an L1 visa here.

Can an L1 Visa holder apply for a green card?

There are two types of L1 visas, the L1A for Executives and Managers, and the L1B for Specialized Knowledge Employees. While the L1A visa has a direct path to a green card under the EB1C Employment-based Immigration as a Multinational Manager or Executive, the L1B does not have a direct path and must go through the labor certification process and obtain a labor certification with the US Department of Labor before transitioning to a green card.

What are the Employment-Based (EB) preference categories for immigrant visas?

What is the process to go from an L1A visa to a green card?

There is a direct path from the L1A visa to a green card by filing Form I-140 Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS under the EB1C Category as a Multinational Manager or Executive. Form I-140 must be filed by the employer on behalf of the qualifying L1A visa employee. The basic criteria to qualify for a green card under the EB1C Category as a Multinational Manager or Executive are:

  • The employee must have been employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission if already working for the US employer.
  • The petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer and intend to employ the employee in a managerial or executive capacity.
  • The petitioner must have been doing business in the U.S. for at least 1 year, as a legal entity with a qualifying relationship to the entity that employed you abroad in a managerial or executive capacity.

What is the process to go from an L1B visa to a green card?

Unlike the L1A visa, the L1B visa does not have a direct path to a green card. L1B visa holders must go through the labor certification process with the US Department of Labor before transitioning to a green card through employment. This is the same process that an H1B visa holder or a TN visa holder must go through to obtain a green card. The most common paths are through the EB2 or EB3 Employment-based preference categories.

What is the Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) process?

Who is responsible for the green card process?

With either the L1A or L1B visa, the employer (petitioner) is the sponsor. The I-140 Petition and the 9089 Labor Certification must be filed by the employer. There are limited exceptions for owners of companies to obtain US permanent residence while on an L1A visa. However, in most cases, the employee cannot self-petition for a green card while on an L1A visa or an L1B visa.

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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 more than 30+ years of experience helping foreign nationals on L1 visas to obtain US permanent residence (green cards). We always start with a case assessment and offer several levels of L1 Visa legal services to fit your needs.

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