If you are working in the United States on an L-1A visa as an intracompany executive or manager, you may be able to make the transition from an L-1A visa holder to a green cardholder. Applicants have the option to apply for an employment-based green card specifically created for multinational executives and managers under the EB-1C category. You are also able to do this without losing your current L-1A non-immigrant visa status. If you are interested in moving to the United States with the intent of becoming a permanent resident, we cover everything you need to know about the L-1A visa to green card requirements, information, and process below.
The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for intracompany transfers, allowing executives, managers, or workers with specialized knowledge to transfer from a foreign office to a branch in the United States. An L-1 visa also allows a foreign company employee—executive, manager, or specialized worker—to be sent to the U.S. to establish a U.S. branch if one doesn’t already exist. Non-immigrant visa status means that the visa is temporary.
One of the benefits of the L-1 visa is the eligibility for dual intent. This means that even though the L-1 visa is not itself an immigrant visa, you are still able to come to the United States and apply for a green card.
Unlike the L-1 intracompany transfer visa, most non-immigrant visas are given only with proof that the recipient does not intend on making their stay in the United States permanent. Non-immigrant visas are temporary, meaning that the visiting foreign national maintains their citizenship in their country of origin.
Dual intent, however, allows for you to come to the United States on a temporary visa in order to perform the work you are here to do and allows for the opportunity to apply for a green card.
The L-1A visa was explicitly created for individuals who are executives or managers in their company. L-1A differs from L-1B in that L-1B is for workers with specialized knowledge. Specialized workers are considered distinctly significant employees with deep experience and responsibility in their field.
Managers and executives hold the authority in their company, are specialized in their knowledge, and direct the workers they are in charge of. The managerial component of the position is of the utmost importance—even more so than the individual’s specialization.
Managers under the L-1A visa must meet the following requirements:
In order to qualify as an L-1A executive, you must:
L-1A visa holders are initially allowed to stay in the United States for one year. L-1A managers and executives are able to request multiple extensions of stay. Each L-1 renewal process may take place every one to two years, as each extension of stay lasts two years. An L-1A visa holder’s maximum stay is limited to seven years.
We have covered what an L-1 visa is and how long you are able to remain in the U.S. on your temporary visa. Since L-1A is a dual intent visa, you may make the transition from your temporary visa to a green card by applying for an EB-1C visa.
To apply for a green card under the EB-1C category, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
In addition, your employer needs to file a Form I-140 on your behalf to petition for you as an employee. As a part of the application process, your employer needs to show that they can continue to pay you as of the priority date. They can submit evidence to prove their ability to pay with tax returns, annual reports, and/or audits.
Note: your employer does not need to have a permanent labor certification program (PERM) labor certificate for an EB-1C.
It is also important to state that you may apply for an L-1 visa to green card by marriage. Spouses and families may receive an L-2 non-immigrant visa. After your employer is done filing for your I-140 petition, your family may apply for admission to the U.S.
An EB-1C visa is an employment-based immigration visa for first preference employees. EB-1C is the third subcategory for first preference employees. It is for “certain multinational manager or executive” positions.
Your employer must petition for you; they must be a U.S. employer with the intention of giving you a managerial or executive position. There must also be a qualifying relationship with the company you work for abroad.
In order to fulfill the requirements to adjust from an L-1 executive or manager to an EB-1C executive or manager, you need to meet a specific set of requirements. L-1A visa to green card requirements include:
In comparison to L-1A, green card EB-1 has many similar qualifications. Your immigration attorney can help build and present a case for why you qualify for an adjustment of status.
The main difference between EB-1C and L-1A is the immigrant versus non-immigrant visa. EB-1C allows for lawful permanent residency in the United States, whereas L-1A is only temporary.
Another key difference is blanket petitions. An L-1 blanket petition is for companies that have many employees to transfer to the United States. In order to obtain an EB-1C visa, applications must be completed on an individual basis.
If you have an L-1B, there are more steps that you need to go through and you may not qualify for an EB-1C. EB-1C visas do not allow for employees with specialized knowledge.
Though processing time may vary depending on your situation, the typical L-1A to EB-1 green card processing time takes about a year total to complete, if not less.
Fortunately for L-1A to green card through EB-1 applicants, the year-long processing time is considered relatively quick. Other processes such as transferring to a green card from an L-1B visa can take multiple years to fully complete. Because L-1B holders need a PERM labor certificate and may have to wait for a current priority date, their Form I-485 processing time takes significantly longer; each step depends on the completion of the prior step, further elongating the process.
Since EB-1 visas do not require a PERM labor certificate, you do not need to wait for additional timeframes. Nor do you need to pay the costs of applying for additional forms.
The L-1A visa green card processing time includes the following steps:
Your L-1 visa to green card time may fluctuate depending on your L-1 status, if you need to present more evidence, and if you must interview with USCIS.
An EB-1C visa has many benefits, the first of which is no need for labor certification. You are also not required to make the large financial investment that other employment-based green cards may require. Additionally, approval rates are high if you are transitioning from L-1A to green card status, making your chances of attaining a green card favorable.
As discussed above, you and your employer both need to submit forms to adjust your status from L-1A to green card. The following fees may apply depending on what is necessary for your specific case:
Note that you may not need all of the above. Speak with your immigration attorney about specific pricing for your individual application. Since you will most likely go through the process of adjusting your status from within the United States, you will not need to file a DS-260.
The L-1A to green card process is an intense pathway to citizenship. If you are an L-1A holder, solidifying your citizenship with an EB-1C visa can positively impact you in many ways. The steps you must take to obtain your green card can be rigorous. An experienced attorney can help you complete your application forms and prepare for the entire process to transition from an L-1 visa to a green card.
In the case of an L-1A to green card rejection, your immigration attorney can help you with the next steps for a potential alternative. There are a few reasons why you may have been rejected, including insufficient fees, criminal activity, or your position may simply not qualify under USCIS standards. Your employer’s ability to petition for you and pay your full wages may also jeopardize your application if they are unable to fully perform their role. An immigration attorney can help break down the reasoning behind your rejection and guide you through your next steps.
The experienced immigration and naturalization attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. are here to support you on your path from an L-1 visa to a green card. We have over 30 years of experience working with people transitioning from an L-1 visa to a green card, and we are here to help you, too. If you have any questions about the green card process or would like to set up a consultation, contact us today by calling 312.444.1940 or filling out our online contact form.View Similar Articles