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I am in the U.S. on an L-1 visa, can I travel while my adjustment petition is pending?

By April 28, 2023L-1 Visa
Travelling woman looking around a new city

The L-1 visa permits a U.S. employer to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests or a manager/executive from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

Some L-1 visa holders find themselves in the following situation: They are currently in the U.S. on an L-1 status, but they have an Adjustment of Status petition pending with USCIS  (either an Eb-1c green card petition (that has similar requirements to the L1 non-immigrant visa), or other employment or family based green card petitions).

Generally, if you have a pending green card petition, you should not leave the U.S as your green card petition would be considered abandoned (you can only travel after you receive your advance parole card. However, there are some exceptions for H-1b and L visa holders.

Can an L-1 visa holder travel while the adjustment petition is pending?

L-1 visa holders (both the L1 workers and their dependents) can travel while their green card petitions are pending, and it will have no impact on their green card petitions. The L1 workers will need to meet the following requirements:

  • They are not in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings;
  • They are in a lawful L status;
  • They have a valid L visa;
  • Upon returning to the U.S., they will remain eligible for the L status;
  • They are coming back to the US to resume employment with the same L-1 employer.

I received my advance parole document. Should I travel on the Advance Parole or on the L-1 visa? Does it matter?

If you applied and received your Advance Parole card and you also have a valid L-1 visa and meet all the requirements above, you have an option to travel on your L-1 visa or the Advance parole card. We usually recommend, that if you have a valid underlying status in the U.S. (such as L1 in this case), that you maintain this status – in case the green card petition gets denied, you would still have a valid status in the U.S. (on the other hand if you enter on the Advance Parole, and your green card is denied, you would be out of status). The same advice is about working in the U.S. – our general advice is that you work based on your valid L-1 visa and not on the work authorization (again, in case anything happens with the green card, you would still have a valid underlying status in the U.S.).

Please note that if your L1 visa is expiring, you can also renew your visa at a Consulate (after you have an I-129 Approval from USCIS), and the fact that you have a green card petition pending should have no impact on your visa petition.

Please see our Eb-1c Q&A Blog post when you click here.

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