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Can I get a Green Card if I have an L-1 Visa? Can I move from an L-1A to a Green Card? What are the differences between and L-1A and EB-1C?

By May 13, 2020May 26th, 2021Immigration, L-1 Visa

On paper, the criteria for an L-1A and EB-1C are similar.  In both cases, the following must exist:

  • a qualifying relationship must exist between the entity abroad and the U.S. entity
  • the beneficiary must have worked for the foreign entity for at least one year
  • the beneficiary must have a management or executive role

You can find out more about the L-1 visa by clicking here.

You can find out more about the EB-1C Green Card by clicking here.

While on paper the qualifications for L-1 and EB-1C are similar, there are significant differences.  Some of these differences are outlined below:

Question L-1 Visa EB-1C
How long is the visa issued for? 1 Year for new office and 3 years if the business in the U.S. already exists. Unlimited as a Green Card
Will the visa be issued for a new entity in the U.S.? Yes – The L-1 has a special category for New Office NO.  A track record in the U.S. will normally be required.
How Long does it take to get? Premium processing normally exists for this category so an applicant could have this visa in a couple of months. Green cards usually take over a year to process.
How long can you stay out of the country? An L visa does not have any U.S. residency requirement associated with it. As such, an applicant could be out of the country for over a year without an issue. Green card holders must adhere to all of the requirements of a green card that are outlined here.
Does the category apply to specialists? Yes No. Only managers and executives.
What is the Number of employees required?  Are employees required initially? No employees initially required for a New Office L, but 3-5 would be required for the renewal in 1 year. Normally over 30 employees.  EB-1Cs are more popular with large multinational companies.
How Large does the company have to be? Can be a start up for a new office L. Usually large companies with over 50 employees and significant operations and a track record.
Can the visa be issued in the U.S.? A change of status can be done in the U.S. but the visa must be obtained at a Consulate. The green card can be processed in the U.S. or at a Consulate.

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