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L1B to Green Card: An Overview

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • An L1B visa is a non-immigrant visa for foreign employees with specialized knowledge being transferred to a U.S. branch of their company.
  • Allows legal work in the U.S. and the option to apply for permanent residency, requiring one year of prior employment with the same company.
  • L1B visa holders can transition to a green card through employer sponsorship, with options including EB-2 and EB-3 categories.
  • The process involves obtaining a PERM Labor Certification, filing an I-140 petition, and submitting an I-485 form, with varying processing times and fees depending on circumstances.

There are several types of visas in the US, and each kind has a range of individual specifications. With that in mind, you can apply for a type of visa if you meet some key requirements. For instance, the L1B visa is a type of non-immigrant visa. If you enter the US on this visa, you might consider getting a green card. But keep on reading if you want to learn more information on the topic.

What Is an L1B Visa?

First of all, an L1B visa is a non-immigrant visa provided to foreign employees who have specialized knowledge. You might be eligible for this visa if you are being transferred to the US quarter of a company. That is to say, this visa facilitates intra-company transfers allowing employers to bring experienced, trained staff to the US, for the interest of the company.

As a holder of the L1B visa, you can legally work in the US. You might also bring dependents with you. Most importantly, as a holder of this type of visa, you are entitled to apply for permanent residency.

How the L1B Visa Works

This type of visa is designated specifically for multinational companies because these companies establish additional branches or auxiliaries in other countries as well. Still, as an employee, in order to qualify, you require specialized knowledge. For instance, in the case of the L1A visa, the applicant should be a manager or executive in the company, as there are two types of L1 visas.

Therefore, you must have specialized knowledge regarding the company’s activity, operation, product, techniques, service, research or equipment. In other words, you should have an indispensable role. Having experience in the field isn’t enough. In addition, you must have worked for the same company for at least one year prior to applying for the L1B visa.

Can an L1B Visa Holder Get a Green Card?

Yes, this is, in fact, one of the benefits associated with holding an L1B visa. If you’re thinking about extending your stay in the US, you should consider getting a green card. Getting a green card in the US entails several steps, but in the case of an L1B visa holder, we will go over the information you need to know in the forthcoming paragraphs.

Which Green Cards Are Available for L1B Visa Holders?

For one thing, as an L1B visa holder, you can get an EB-2 green card. Employees with noteworthy abilities in their field could apply for this. In addition to that, if you hold an advanced degree in that field, you might also qualify for it. Essentially, you should have a position that clearly outlines your unique talents and capabilities.

The second type of green card you might get is the EB-3 green card. This is intended for bachelor’s degree holders, as well as skilled and unskilled workers. The majority of L1B visa holders will qualify for this as well since they have specialized positions.

There is also the EB-4, which is designated for religious workers, military members, translators, and some Iraqis. And lastly, the EB-5 visa – investors might get this, granted that they have noteworthy capital in the US.

Requirements for Switching from an L1B Visa to a Green Card

The USCIS considers that the L1B visa is a dual intent visa. Therefore, if you qualify for one of the types of green card mentioned beforehand, you must have an employer sponsor your green card. If this isn’t the case for you, then you should find an employer that would be willing to sponsor for you. This is a key requirement when it comes to transitioning from L1B to a green card.

There are two exceptions to this rule – namely when it comes to EB-1C and the EB-2 when a National Interest Waiver applies.

How to Transition from an L1B to a Green Card

Once you have a sponsoring employer, the next step is that he/she will get a PERM Labor Certification on your behalf. Basically, this means that your employer will go through a recruitment process. The purpose is to ensure that there isn’t a qualified US worker that can replace you in your position at the company.

Afterward, the employer must file an I-140 petition for you. When the USCIS gets the petition, that will be your priority date. As soon as the priority date becomes current, then you should submit the I-485 form so that your status is changed to that of a permanent resident. In case you are outside the US, there is consular processing you’ll have to go through.

The process could be more or less complicated, depending on your individual circumstances. You could always consider hiring a lawyer if you feel that the L1B to Green card processing steps are overwhelming.

L1B to Green Card Cost

When transitioning from an L1B to a green card, you’ll have to pay a range of fees. There is the filing fee for form I-140 – which is $700. In addition to that, there is the I-485 filing fee, which can range from $750 to $1,140. This fee will be determined by the age of the applicant, as well as the refugee status of the applicant.

If applicable, there is a biometrics fee of $85. If you go through consular processing, you’ll also have to pay the DS-260 fee, which is $230. In this scenario, there is an additional $88 affidavit of support fee.

L1B to Green Card Processing Time

The processing time can take a while. For example, the PERM Labor Certification can last up to eight months until it is completed. Moving on to the I-140, the average processing time for this is of 6 months. When it comes to EB-1 and some EB-2 cases, there is no wait time. But in other cases, the waiting period can last from months to years. As for the waiting time for the I-485, it can take, on average, 6 months.

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Conclusion

All in all, this concludes our brief guide on the topic of L1B to Green card transition. As you can see, the processing time can take a while, which is why it’s best to get acquainted with the steps you should follow and get started ASAP. Make sure you check our other articles regarding other non-immigrant visas on Stilt.

L1B to Green Card FAQ

Below, you’ll find the answers to some of the most common questions on the topic of L1B to green card transition.

Can the L1B to Green Card Process Be Shortened?

If you want to shorten the processing time frame, you could always opt for premium processing. In this case, you’ll have to pay a fee of $1,410. However, it’s good to know that you have this option in case you need an answer soon.

How Much Does the L1B to Green Card Transition Cost?

Moving on to the costs of the L1B to Green card transition, these can range, as outlined above. For instance, if you want to opt for premium processing, you’ll need to pay extra. The same goes if you’ll go through consular processing. The price will depend on your individual circumstances.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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