A lot of people are confused about what an L1 visa is, how it works, and who can apply for one. This is understandable because the law around this type of visa has changed a few times in recent years.
The good news is that there’s no need to be confused anymore! If you’re interested in learning more about applying for an L1 visa or green card, we have plenty of resources on our website that explain everything from start to finish. Read on
The United States L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows overseas companies to transfer employees to the United States on a managerial capacity or specialized field of employment basis.
One of the greatest L-1 visa benefits is the fact that you do not need a degree to qualify. Unlike the H1B visa that only allows you to work on the payroll of a US company, L1 visa workers can be on the payroll of the US company or an overseas company.
To apply for an L1 visa the employee must have worked for an overseas subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of the US company they are transferring to for at least one year out of the last three years. The employee must have worked as a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker for this time.
L1 Visa Types:
The L-1 visa has two subcategories: the L-1A for managers and executives, and the L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge. L-1 holders can also pursue a lawful permanent resident status during their stay.
L1A visa: Up to years of stay in the US for executives, managers and business owners
L1B visa: Up to 5 years of stay in the US for specialized knowledge employees
Duration of the L1 USA visa:
For the L-1A visa, holders will be granted an initial three years of stay in the U.S. They can then extend their stay to a maximum of seven years, this surpasses the H-1B’s maximum of six years and the J-1’s maximum of five years. However, the L-1B visa can only be extended to a maximum of five years.
Here are the 2 Types of L1 Visas:
This visa is for managers and executives. They are the people who might be transferring to either a US office or entering the US on the purpose of setting up an office. The visa grants a maximum stay of up to 7 years.
This visa refers to specialized employers or knowledge workers having experience in specific skills. L1-B visa grants a maximum stay of up to 5 years.
If you have already worked in the US on an H1B visa, then the time allowed to stay can be deducted.
However, to qualify for the L1-A and L1-B visa, you must be having work experience from a corporation for a continuous twelve-month period in your previous 36 months.
For the L1-B Visa, both the employer and employees have to meet the eligibility requirements, which are mentioned below:
The qualifying employers need to meet the below L1-B visa requirements for the employers:
If the employee is transferred in a purpose to set up a new business in the US, then the employer must possess the below needs:
The essential documents which are needed during the L1 visa application process include:
Documents from the US company:
Documents from foreign company:
Documents from the Transferee:
After obtaining your L1 approval petition, you have to provide a list of documents to process your L1 visa stamping.
Here’s the list of documents:
If you are setting up to apply for the L1-A visa, then, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps:
Submit Form I-129
Need to complete and submit the Form I-129 with the required filing fees. Get the receipt number of the Form I-129 and print it on the approved petition of the Form I-129.
Complete Form DS-160
Should complete the Form DS-160 online.
Book Visa Interview
Need to arrange an appointment for a visa interview.
Go for the interview as scheduled with required L1 Visa documents.
After receiving a visa, the passport will be provided via a courier service.
The step-by-step process for L1-B visa includes:
You can easily change your L1A Visa to a Green Card by proving your intent to return to the U.S as a citizen.
Here’s what you need to change your L1A visa to a Green Card:
With a LI1 A visa, you’ll have several advantages like:
The L1B Visa doesn’t necessarily give these advantages.
Yes, it is easier to get a Green card if you are with an L1-A visa. You, as an L1-A holder, can change your status to the green card without losing the L1 status. But there are a few requirements that have to be met.
However, when you are on the L1-A visa, here’s what you need to show as qualifications:
Follow these 3 steps:Step 1: Get an approved petition from USCIS:
Your employer needs to submit Form I-140.
The form I-140 needs to be submitted by an employer and not the employee.Step 2: Apply for Immigrant Visa(For Green Card):
Once the form I-140 is approved, you will need to submit Form I-485 for permanent residence in the U.S. This process may take up to 7 months to get approved.Step 3: Fill the DS-260 Visa form:
If you are planning to get a green card for your spouse as well, this form needs to be mandatorily filled and submitted to the NVC.
Now, all you need to do after that is wait to be a permanent resident of the U.S.
Getting a green card via the L1-B process means going through the PERM labor certification program. This process is more time-consuming.
6 months - 8 months
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With the L1-A visa, the intracompany transferees get a range of benefits such as:
All businesses can come under the L1 intra-company transfer visa. Be it Large-scale, medium-scale or small-scale.
The employees who have obtained an L1-A visa can stay in the US for an extent of 7 years. However, at the initial point you are allowed to stay for 1-3 years.
For extending or renewing the L1 visa status, your US employer must be able to file the Form I-129. This has to be done before the date on the Form I-94 expires.
Later, you visit a Consulate or a US Embassy to extend or renew the visa. However, to make this complete, you may have to provide a few documents as suggested below:
For the visa holders who have their spouses and children accompanied on L2 visa, the employer must complete the Form I-539, i.e., the Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status.
This should be further submitted to the USCIS with the L1 applicants Form I-129.
No, you are not permitted to work part-time for any other employer with the L1 visa. You need to be in full-time employment for only one employer.
The Green-card holders of the US are officially termed as the Lawful Permanent Residents. They have many privileges similar to that of US citizens.
There are even more advantages with the permanent residency card. However, to begin your journey towards the Green card, you need to first make your step ahead for US Immigration with the L1 visa.
Yes, spouses and dependent children can work in the U.S with the L1 US Visa of the primary applicant.