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From L-1A Status to Green Card

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Although the L-1 visa is a temporary, employment based non-immigrant visa, it is also a “dual intent” visa, meaning that an L-1 visa holder and their dependents may apply for permanent residency without compromising their L visa status or visa applications from a US consular office abroad. A specific employment-based immigrant preference category (EB-1C) was created for managers and executives who meet the L-1 standards and are interested in becoming lawful permanent residents.

The EB-1C immigrant petition requirements are almost identical to those of the L-1A non-immigrant petition requirements:

  • The candidate must have been employed for one year within the past three years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary or branch of the U.S. employer and he or she must work in the United States in a managerial or executive capacity.
  • The company must conduct business within the United States and another country in the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and services.
  • The company must have been in existence in the United States for at least one year.

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Although L-1 status is not a prerequisite for immigrant benefits in this category, it provides a stronger case when the beneficiary was in an L visa category previously. Many L-1A holders are able to smoothly transition into an EB-1C permanent resident status. The most notable advantage of seeking a green card through the EB-1 category is that labor certification is not necessary for the petitioner.

For an alien in L-1B status, he/she may apply for a Green Card as a skilled worker, which requires an approved labor certification. If circumstances allow, he/she may apply under the EB-1(a), EB-1(b), or NIW categories, for which a labor certification is not required.