What is an L-1 Visa? In this article I explain what an L-1 Visa is, who qualifies for it, and how an L-1 manager can apply for a green card (permanent residency).
The L-1 Visa allows non-U.S. companies to set up operations in the United States and send a manager, executive, or person with “specialized knowledge” to work at that location. The L-1 Visa is great for a chain company that wants to transfer employees from overseas to a U.S. location. It is also good for a small company that wants to expand and set up an office in the U.S. and hire employees to run the new location.
The L-1A Visa is used to transfer a senior manager or executive. It cannot be used to transfer a lower level manager or an executive with limited duties. The transferee should be in charge of major decisions for running the U.S. location, like hiring and firing. T
How can an L1A manager obtain a green card and establish permanent residency in the U.S.?
The L-1A visa is a non-immigrant category for temporary workers that is good for up to 7 years, including all possible extensions. After (or during) these 7 years, the L-1A visa holder who wishes to stay in the U.S. permanently and continue to work may apply for a green card.
What is a green card? A green card is a permanent residency card, which allows you to live and work in U.S. without any limits, except that the green card holder must stay in the U.S. for at least 6 months and 1 days out of the year.
What type of green card should an L-1A visa holder apply for? The EB-1C green card. The EB-1C green card is for the L-1A visa employee who has worked at a U.S. business or office location in a managerial or executive capacity and who has managed the operations of the U.S. office for at least one year.
To obtain the EB-1C green card, the employer of the L-1A transferred employee must file the petition for foreign worker Form I-140. After the EB-1C petition is approved, the worker can then apply for an adjustment of status. If the worker is still in the U.S. working under the L-1A visa, then the adjustment of status is filed in the U.S., not overseas.
Once the worker obtains the EB-1C green card, then family members can immediately apply for their green card as well based on the worker’s EB-1C green card.
If you would like help applying for an EB-1C green card or an L1 visa or if you have any questions about the U.S. immigration process, please feel free to contact one of our experienced U.S. immigration attorneys today!