The L-1 visa category encompasses two different visa options – L-1A visas and L-1B visas. These nonimmigrant classifications allow eligible companies to send intracompany transferees to the United States to work in managerial positions or fill jobs that require specialized knowledge.
Is it possible to apply for a US green card under L-1 nonimmigrant status? Keep reading to find out.
L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa – Understanding the Concept
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that an eligible employer must apply on a prospective L-1 employee’s behalf.
The L-1A visa applies for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions, while the L-1B applies for intracompany transferees who work in positions requiring specialized knowledge.
Both categories permit a US employer to transfer an executive, manager, or specialized employee from one of its affiliated offices abroad to one of its US offices.
Also, foreign companies which do not yet have an affiliated office in the United States may send an executive, manager, or specialized employee under L-1 nonimmigrant status to establish a new affiliated office.
Can L-1 Apply for Green Card? – Requirements and Process
Many temporary work visas require applicants to demonstrate no immigrant intent and require them to return home immediately after the visa expiry date. In some cases, a nonimmigrant visa holder has to spend a specific amount of time outside the United States before re-applying for a visa.
Fortunately, L-1 visa holders can petition with USCIS for adjustment of status and apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) in the United States. The requirements for applicants seeking to adjust their status under L-1 classification are:
- The applicant must have been employed at a company outside of the United States for at least one continuous year in the three years before filing the petition
- The applicant must occupy a managerial or executive role in the company, or have specialized skills or knowledge
- The applicant’s current and prospective employers must meet USCIS eligibility requirements
- The applicant’s current and prospective employers will be active through the application process
Depending on the applicant’s prospective job and other factors involved in the process, the employer must go through the Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM) with the US Department of Labor (DOL).
In specific cases, it is possible to waive the PERM certification. Consult with an expert immigration attorney to identify whether your case is eligible for a waive.
The best option for L-1A managers or executives is to adjust their status for EB-1C visas, which encompasses eligible multinational managers or executives. This process does not require labor certification.
L-1B specialized employees have no specific category of employment-based visas available for transition. Accordingly, they must go through the PERM labor certification process and identify which employment-based visa is the best option for each applicant based on their skills and background.
L-1 Adjustment of Status to US Green Card – Seek Professional Guidance
The process of adjustment of status from L-1 classification to a US green card involves several complexities and pitfalls. An experienced immigration attorney is fundamental to guide employers and employees by:
- Assessing each case’s circumstances
- Identifying the best visa option based on the applicant’s case
- Clarifying the process and leaving no room for errors that may jeopardize the application
- Handling all the necessary paperwork