Green Card From L-1A To EB-1: What you need to Know

A new visa category has been introduced for L-1A applicants seeking permanent residency without losing their L-1A status. The EB1C visa classification allows multinational executives, managers, and certain highly skilled workers employed by multinational corporations to stay in the U.S. on an EB-1C Visa instead of going back home to apply for a green card.      

An Overview of L-1A Visa And EB-1C Visa 

The L-1A non-immigrant visa is a temporary business visa that allows companies to transfer managers, executives, and employees with specialized knowledge—such as technical experts, researchers, and managers of international subsidiaries—from their foreign operations to the United States. Under this visa category, green card applicants can continue working for their sponsoring company while awaiting their green card interview date.

On the other hand, the EB-1C visa category is designed for immigrants who have been employed as or are executives and managers of a multinational company. It also applies to foreign nationals who could not qualify under another employment-based immigrant visa category. 

Requirements for EB-1C and L-1 Visa

The following are the requirements for an EB-1C visa for Multinational Managers and Executives:

  • The applicant must be employed by a U.S. affiliate of a foreign employer. This could include establishments located in different states, although the same entity owns them.
  • The applicant must be working in a managerial or executive position somewhere in the United States at the time of application.
  • The applicant needs to be currently employed by a company in their home country that regularly does business with the United States as well as other countries.
  • Before submitting a work visa application, the U.S. employer must have operated in the country for at least one year.

As for the L-1 visa, the applicant must meet two of the following requirements: 

  • It must be a foreign company with an office in the United States or an established relationship with an American partner. 
  • The company where the foreign worker is employed must have a U.S. business address and a legitimate business in the U.S. The employee must have worked for their foreign employer during the last three years without any significant break in employment.

For EB-1C visa applications, having or currently holding L-1A status is a practice that is highly regarded. It is convenient for the EB-1C visa as it does not require a PERM Labor Certification to be submitted along with the application. The PERM Labor Certification ensures that the employment opportunity will not affect the conditions and wages of U.S. workers negatively. Preparing a PERM Labor Certification Application necessitates a significant time and monetary investment.

Processing of L-1A to EB-1C Green Cards

You may begin the L-1A to EB-1C green card process with Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) if you have an L-1A visa. Note that your employer must submit this form on behalf of you. You won’t need a PERM Labor Certification, but you need a permanent job offer from a U.S. company. Note that the EB-1C does not qualify for premium processing.      

If you submit your I-140 petition to USCIS, you need to know that that date becomes your priority date. The monthly Visa Bulletin from the Department of State includes information on priority dates and countries. We recommend checking on this monthly to see if your priority dates and country are current for filing purposes. For such, the petition dates for E-1 categories are typically current; as soon as your petition is approved, you can apply for an adjustment of status.    

Difference between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing

For those applying for citizenship from abroad, the adjustment of the status procedure is slightly less complex than consular processing. Adjustment of status allows you to file an I-485, which could be anywhere from $750-$1,140,  and other required documents with USCIS instead of traveling back home to attend a consulate interview. However, if time is not a factor and you have other reasons (such as spending time overseas) that require you to travel back home first, consular processing may be cheaper in terms of filing fees and can happen faster than the application process USCIS.

Differences Between EB-1C Green Card and L-1A

The applications for the EB-1C visa and L-1 visa share numerous similarities but have substantial differences between them.

  • The EB-1C does not allow for blanket petitions. Unlike the L-1A, the EB-1C can only be sponsored individually.
  • The EB-1C category is reserved for immigrants, while the L-1A category is reserved for non-immigrants and temporary alien workers.
  • Specialized knowledge is inadequate. In the L1 category, you may be eligible if you have a minimum of one year of specialized knowledge; This level of education and experience is, however, insufficient for an EB-1C applicant.
  • Before filing, it is recommended to consult a qualified attorney regarding the transition from L1a to a green card, as each case is unique.      

L-1B to Green Card Process (How long will it take?)

Applicants under the L-1B category can gain permanent residency status through a process known as PERM Labor Certification. Unless they qualify under the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability or EB-1 Outstanding Researchers and Professors categories, L-1B applicants may have to wait a long processing time. Foreign national workers can file for immigration benefits under multiple categories, including EB-3 or EB-2 NIW (if qualified) and the EB-2 National Interest Waiver. Moreover, Applicants who are seeking L-1A status have the option of also pursuing immigration benefits through the standard process for family-based immigration.     

 Benefits  of Switching from L-IA to Green Cards

Due to the numerous inherent benefits of the EB visa category, many L-1A visa holders prefer to switch to Green cards.

One of the main benefits you can enjoy is that there is no requirement for a substantial investment. While the EB-5 visa path requires a minimum investment of either one million or half a million dollars, this green card option does not have such a requirement. Moreover, there is no “conditional” green card period, and the sponsoring employer handles the legal documents and filing costs associated with that process. Lastly, you previously held L-1A status, and your likelihood of approval is relatively high. Thus, changing from an L-1A to a green card gives you numerous benefits than you can ever imagine. 

Cost and Fees

The costs associated with switching from an L-1A visa to an EB-1 visa vary depending on if you’re applying from a U.S. consulate or adjusting your status within the U.S. Consular processing can be more expensive, as each petition goes through the State Department’s visa office, while adjustment of status generally costs less than consular processing.

Consular Processing can cost from $230 to $700 whereas the fees for adjustment of status will range from 750 $1,140 for an I-485 fee and $700 for the  Basic Filing Fee.

How Can Green Card Link Assists You

Green Card Link has extensive experience with L-1A visa cases and has helped many clients receive green cards. Our attorneys strive to do everything possible for our clients, and they can assist you in determining whether you qualify under the EB-1C category. 

Contact Green Card Link today to get in touch with one of our L-1A visa attorneys.

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