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Does an L-1 Visa lead to a Green Card? Can I get a green card with an L-1 Visa? Is an L-1 visa better than an E-2 visa?

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

An L-1 visa is a visa that is available when a company outside of the U.S. wants to transfer an employee that has worked there for one year to the U.S.  You can find out more about the L-1 requirements by clicking here.   The employee must either be an executive, manager or specialist, and each one of these categories has specific eligibility requirements.  An EB-1C green card is a green card category that is very similar to the L-1 visa in that it can be available to an applicant if the applicant has worked for a foreign company for one year, and is an executive or manager. That being said, the EB-1C is a green card rather than a non immigrant visa, and is much more difficult visa to obtain than an L-1.  For an EB-1C green card, the organization in the U.S. normally has to have operated for several years, have generated significant revenues, and the executive/manager role must be significant (For example, over 50 employees with significant responsibility).

As the L-1 and EB-1C categories/requirements seem similar, many think that an L-1 visa “leads” to a green card.  This is not correct.  While many who obtain the EB-1C green card get an L-1 first, an L-1 is not required for this category and does not do anything to “assist” with obtaining the EB-1C green card.  The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa and this assists with your ability to apply for the green card in terms of your ability to reenter but it does not assist with qualification on the merits. You can find out more about dual intent by clicking here.

Instead, to see if one qualifies for the EB-1C category you should look at the specific EB-1C requirements to assess whether they have been met.  To qualify for an EB-1C, you must have been employed outside the U.S. in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a foreign company. Your employment must have been outside the U.S.  in a managerial or executive capacity, and you must be coming to the U.S. to work for a subsidiary, affiliate or branch of the foreign company.

While having an L-1 visa is a start, it is not required and does not lead to the EB-1C green card.  For example, someone could get have a job in the U.S. on an E-2 visa (For example, an E-2 Employee Executive/Manager), and then later apply for an EB-1C as long as they met the requirements.

In the U.S., none of the non immigrant visa categories (E-2, L-1, O-1, TN, H-1B, etc.) “lead” to a green card. Instead, each green card category has requirements (Eg. EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-5) and you must assess whether you qualify for them.

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