Switching from an L1 visa to an U.S. Green Card
If you are an L1 visa holder in the U.S, your chances of obtaining a valid Green Card are quite high. Working in the U.S with H1B, E-2, or L1 provides an excellent basis for those seeking a green card in the U.S. Having an L1 visa is a perfect opportunity to permanently live your American dream.
What is an L1 visa?
An L1 visa allows multinational corporates to transfer their foreign employees to a branch, subsidiary, office, or affiliate in the U.S. These employees, however, must fall into one of the following categories:
- L-1A for managers and executives of the company, or;
- L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge
To be eligible for an employee with specialized knowledge, an applicant must prove knowledge of the company’s products, services, technologies, equipment, research, etc. The knowledge must be unique, highly specialized, and have the experience that goes beyond the typical workings of a company. Also, one must be working in the company for at least three years before applying.
General requirements for L1 visa
- There must be a qualifying relationship between the company sending an overseas worker and the U.S. Company. The relationship could be in the form of a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate)
- The L1 visa beneficiary must be employed for the foreign company for not less than one year in the last three years.
- The foreign company must be actively involved in the business or have genuine intentions to do so as an employer in the U.S. throughout the L-1 visa beneficiary’s stay in the United States.
- The specialized knowledge workers may come to the U.S as L1A managers or executives, while those working as managers or executives can come as L1B specialized knowledge workers.
- They must have a physical location for the new office in the United States.
For the L-1A visa, the maximum duration for the stay is seven years, while the L-1B visa allows a beneficiary to reside for five years. Both permits are issued for three years initially with two-year extensions until the maximum limit is reached.
How to Switch from an L-1 Visa to Green Card?
Most non-immigrant visa holders must prove that they will leave the U.S after the expiry of their visa and have no plans to apply for a green card. For anyone falling under this category, it becomes challenging to apply for a green card as it violates their intentions to work in the U.S in the eyes of USCIS.
Fortunately, this does not apply to the L-1 visa. Despite being a non-immigrant visa, the L1 visa holders are allowed to live in the U.S while also pursuing the possibility of applying for a U.S Green Card. You may get the approval based on your employment, family relationship with a U.S citizen, or other ways that demonstrate your L1 visa eligibility.
The three steps to apply for a Green Card via L1 visa are:
PERM Labor Certification Process
It is incredibly critical to ask your employer to sponsor you to apply for a Green Card. If that is not possible, you must look for an employer willing to sponsor you. And once you have the sponsorship, your employer must secure a PERM labour certification on your behalf.
The process involves having your sponsor show that they want to hire you as no local U.S workers are available to fill the job position and that you are paid as per the industry standards in your area.
The certification process usually takes around eight months to complete, including the 30-day job order requirement, an additional 30-day waiting period post the job order, and the six months for the ETA-9089 application.
I-140 Form, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
The second step requires your employer to file an I-140 petition for you. The date the USCIS receives your application is your ‘priority date.’ You may consider this date as your place in the Green Card queue. You can find your priority date on the I-797 form mailed by USCIS approving your I-130 petition.
I-140 form has an average processing time of six months.
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
Form I-485 is used by a foreign national in the U.S. while applying for lawful permanent resident status. If you are outside the U.S., you will need to go through consular processing, requiring you to go to a U.S. consulate or embassy for an interview with an immigration officer.
The form I-485 takes around 8-14 months to process. Once the document gets approved, you can legally reside in the U.S., though it might take another six months for the USCIS to mail your green card.
If you succeed in the steps mentioned above, you will have your Green Card in no time.
Can we shorten the process above?
If you are worried about the lengthy processing time, you may accelerate the process by using a premium processing service, costing $1,440. If the USCIS fails to give you the approval after the premium fee, you will receive a full refund of your payment.
Are you interested in applying? Don’t wait. Visit us for a free evaluation, and let’s together begin your life-long journey to Canada. You can call us at 8595338595 or [email protected]. To know more about Immigration visit www.abhinav.com.