L1B Visa to Green Card: Your Roadmap to Permanent Residency

L1-B Visa To Green Card

Transitioning from an L1B visa to a Green Card is a significant process for specialized knowledge workers seeking permanent residency in the United States.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on navigating this transition, outlining key steps, requirements, and options available to L1B visa holders. Understanding the intricacies of this process is crucial for both employees and employers to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration laws and to maximize the chances of a successful application. By following this guide, you can effectively manage the journey from an L1B visa to securing a Green Card, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition.

Summary of the L1 Classification and the L1B Visa

The L1 visa is a non immigrant visa category that facilitates the transfer of employees from a foreign company to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company. This visa is divided into two categories: L1A for executives and managers, and L1B for specialized knowledge workers.

The L1B visa allows foreign workers with specialized knowledge to work in the U.S. for up to five years, contributing their unique expertise to the U.S. company. This visa supports the green card process by enabling visa holders to apply for permanent residency through an immigrant petition, leveraging their specialized skills and experience, similar to the investment based immigrant visa pathway. Understanding the specifics of the L1B visa and its role in the visa to green card transition is crucial for both employees and employers.

For L1B visa holders, the green card transition process can involve navigating the PERM labor certificationand other pathways to achieve permanent resident status in the U.S. This journey requires adherence to U.S. immigration laws and the completion of necessary procedures to successfully adjust status from an L1B visa to a green card holder.

Transition from L-1B Visa to Green Card

The green card transition process from an L-1B visa involves several key steps to achieve permanent residency. L1B visa holders with specialized knowledge can pursue a green card through various pathways, such as the EB-2 or EB-3 categories, often requiring a PERM labor certification.

Overview of the Transition Process

  1. Initiate the Process: The foreign company files an immigrant petition on behalf of the employee.
  2. Labor Certification: Obtain an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor, verifying no qualified US worker is available for the position.
  3. File Immigrant Petition: Submit Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
  4. Adjust Status: File Form I-485 to adjust status to a legal permanent resident or pursue consular processing if abroad.

Key Steps

  • Employer Sponsorship: The sponsoring employer must demonstrate a qualifying relationship and continue to support the petition.
  • Priority Date: Establish a priority date upon filing the immigrant petition.
  • Work Authorization: Ensure continuous employment authorization while waiting for the green card status.

Navigating the green card process can be complex, requiring adherence to immigration laws and potentially seeking the help of an immigration attorney.

How the L-1B Visa Works

The L1B visa permits a foreign company to transfer employees possessing specialized knowledge to its U.S. branch, affiliate, or subsidiary. This nonimmigrant visa is designed for foreign workers who possess advanced knowledge about the company’s products, services, or processes.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Qualifying Relationship: The U.S. company must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company (parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office).
  • Specialized Knowledge: The foreign worker must demonstrate specialized knowledge essential to the company.

Application Process

  1. Employer Sponsorship: The foreign employer files Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
  2. Approval: Upon approval, the employee can apply for the L1B visa through consular processing.
  3. Adjustment of Status: L1B visa holders can later adjust status to register permanent residence through an immigrant visa application, such as EB-2 or EB-3.

Consulting with an immigration attorney can help navigate this complex application process effectively.

Which Green Cards are Available?

L1B visa holders can pursue several immigrant visa classifications for permanent resident status:

  1. EB1C (Multinational Manager or Executive): Suitable for L1B visa holders who have been employed in a managerial or executive role for at least one year by the same company abroad and are transferred to the U.S. to work in a similar capacity.
  2. EB2 (Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability): Requires a job offer and PERM labor certification process. Suitable for those with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities.
  3. EB3 (Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers): Also requires a job offer and labor certification. Suitable for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers.

Understanding the differences and requirements of these categories helps foreign workers plan their green card transition effectively. Consulting with an immigration attorney can streamline the application process and ensure compliance with immigration laws.

How to Transition from an L-1B Visa to Green Card

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Employer Sponsorship: The process begins with the foreign company filing a PERM labor certification with the Department of Labor to verify that no qualified US worker is available for the position. This step is crucial for obtaining an approved labor certification.
  2. Immigrant Petition: After receiving the labor certification, the employer files Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
  3. Adjustment of Status: After the I-140 is approved, visa holders can submit Form I-485 to adjust their status to become a legal permanent resident, as long as they are currently in the United States. If they are abroad, they must go through consular processing.
  4. Documents Needed: Essential documents include the labor certification, Form I-140, Form I-485 (or consular processing forms), proof of specialized knowledge, and evidence of a qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the U.S. entity.

Timelines and Costs

  • The green card processing time varies but typically takes several months to a few years, depending on the priority date and immigrant visa classification.
  • Costs involve government filing fees, legal fees for an immigration attorney, and possibly premium processing fees for faster service.

Navigating this application process ensures a smooth transition from L1B visa holders to green card holders, achieving permanent resident status in the U.S.

Can This Process Be Shortened?

Yes, the visa to green card process for L1B visa holders can be expedited in certain situations. Premium processing is available for the PERM labor certification and immigrant visa petitions, significantly reducing the green card processing time.

Expedited Options

  • Premium Processing: This service allows for faster review of certain forms, such as Form I-140, within 15 days.
  • Consular Processing: If abroad, consular processing can be quicker for obtaining an immigrant visa.

Situations for Acceleration

  • National Interest Waiver: If the foreign worker’s contributions are deemed in the national interest.
  • Employer Sponsorship: Strong support from the foreign company with a clear qualifying relationship can hasten the process.

For specific guidance, consulting an immigration attorney can ensure compliance with immigration laws and help identify opportunities to adjust status more rapidly.

How Much Will It Cost?

Transitioning from an L1B visa to a Green Card involves several costs:

Government Fees

  • PERM Labor Certification Process: $700 for the Department of Labor filing fee.
  • Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition): $700.
  • Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status): $1,225 for each applicant, including biometric fees.

Attorney Fees

  • Immigration Attorney: Typically ranges from $3,000 to $7,000 depending on the complexity of the case and the services provided.

Other Expenses

  • Premium Processing: Optional $2,500 for expedited processing.
  • Medical Examination: Varies, approximately $200–$500.

Understanding these costs helps foreign workers and their employer sponsors plan for the green card transition effectively.

Working While Waiting for Adjustment of Status

L1B visa holders transitioning to a Green Card must maintain work authorization during the green card process. Here are the guidelines:

Maintaining Work Authorization

  • L1B Status: Continue working under your L1B visa until your Adjustment of Status (AOS) is approved.
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD): Apply for an EAD alongside Form I-485 to work legally during the AOS period.

Employment Options

  • Current Employer: Continue with your foreign company under the same specialized knowledge position.
  • New Employment: With an approved EAD, you can work for any employer.

Following these steps ensures compliance with immigration law while securing permanent residency. Consulting with an immigration attorney can help navigate the visa to green card transition effectively.

Traveling Out While Adjustment of Status Is Pending

While your AOS is pending, there are specific travel restrictions:

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

  • Travel Restrictions: Traveling outside the U.S. without proper documentation can result in the abandonment of your AOS application.
  • Advanced Parole: Apply for Advanced Parole using Form I-131. This travel document allows you to re-enter the U.S. without jeopardizing your green card process.

Importance of Advanced Parole

  • Maintains AOS: Ensures your immigrant petition and AOS are not considered abandoned.
  • Travel Flexibility: Enables you to travel for personal or professional reasons.

Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide personalized guidance and ensure compliance with immigration laws during your visa to green card transition.

The EB1C Visa and its Viability for L1B Visa Holders

The EB1C visa is an immigrant visa classification designed for multinational managers and executives. It allows foreign workers in managerial or executive roles to obtain permanent residency in the U.S. without the need for PERM labor certification.

Suitability for L1B Visa Holders

While primarily aimed at L1A visa holders, the EB1C visa can be an option for L1B visa holders if they transition to a managerial or executive role within their foreign company or its U.S. branch. This pathway can expedite the green card transition due to the EB1C’s higher priority and streamlined process.

PERM Labor Certification – A More Realistic Option for L1B Visa Holders

The PERM Labor Certification is a mandatory step for most employment-based green card applications. It involves the employer demonstrating that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position and that hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. This process includes job advertisements, recruitment efforts, and prevailing wage determination.

Viability for L1B Visa Holders

For L1B visa holders with specialized knowledge, the PERM process is often the most feasible route to a green card. It provides a structured path to permanent residency and accommodates various job roles beyond managerial or executive positions. Given the structured nature of the PERM process and the typical roles of L1B visa holders, this pathway aligns well with their employment circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the L1B Visa?

The L1B visa enables employees with specialized knowledge to be transferred from a foreign company to its U.S. branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.

How Can I Transition from an L1B Visa to a Green Card?

The transition involves employer sponsorship, PERM labor certification, filing an immigrant petition (Form I-140), and adjusting status (Form I-485).

Can L1B Visa Holders Apply for EB1C?

Typically for L1A holders, L1B holders can qualify if they move into a managerial or executive role.

Is Premium Processing Available?

Yes, premium processing can expedite parts of the green card process, reducing the processing time.

Can I Travel While Adjusting Status?

Yes, but you need Advanced Parole to avoid abandoning your adjustment of status application.

What Are the Costs Involved?

Costs include government fees, attorney fees, and optional premium processing fees, totaling several thousand dollars.

Can I Work While Waiting for My Green Card?

Yes, maintain your L1B status or apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) for work flexibility.

How Long Does the Green Card Process Take?

The green card processing time varies, often taking several months to years, depending on the priority date and visa category.

How We Can Help You Go from L-1 Visa to Green Card

Navigating the L1 visa to Green Card transition can be complex. Our experienced L1 visa lawyers provide comprehensive assistance, ensuring a smooth process. We offer guidance on every step, from PERM labor certification to adjusting status. Whether you need help with the L1 US visa or understanding the nuances of the green card process, we are here to support you. For Singaporeans seeking professional advice, consult a US immigration lawyer for Singaporeans.

Jeremy Abernathy

9 January 2024

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad

15 December 2023

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satya Choudhury

20 September 2023

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Hoshino Ryuichi

12 September 2023

Thanks to them for handling my E2 visa very professionally. I had a study visa from F1 and changed it to E2. I encountered many problems during the application process. Verdie and Etta were very patient in helping me and it took a long time. I highly recommend this place.

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