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Filing an H-1B v's L-1 visa petition

Which nonimmigrant visa option is right for you?

The advantages and disadvantages of each available visa are numerous and varied. However, a brief summary of each will hopefully aid in your attempt to understand the world of “immigration alphabet soup.” Although there are many visas, there is usually an option that is best for you. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you in an in-depth consultation and strategy session to determine this viable option.

The H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker Petition is subject to a cap per fiscal year and has been heavily used until this past fiscal year. It is currently available as an option and is likely to remain a viable option. It offers the flexibility of a three- year period of validity with an option for an extension of three more years for a total of six years in this category. In contrast, an L-1A Executive or Manager can spend a total of seven years in this category but an L-1B Specialized Knowledge Worker can only stay in this status for a total of five years.

The L-1 is an intra-company transferee; companies with international operations are able to transfer key personnel to their branch, affiliate or subsidiary in the United States to continue with operations. This, of course, also means that personnel have to be current employees of the company and have had experience with the company before transfer abroad to an affiliate, subsidiary or branch of the parent company.

The employee must have worked with the company abroad for one continuous year in the last three years. If the company is not multinational or if the individual has not completed one year of employment abroad with the same company, this option is not available.

Although the L-1 is not subject to a prevailing wage, government attestations and a quota, the H-1B has a definite advantage over the L in terms of time limits. If the H-1B beneficiary has a labor certification or I-140 petition filed for 365 days or longer prior to the expiration of the sixth year of the H-1B total time, the H-1B beneficiary may apply for extensions of the H-1B for one year at a time with the employer and, thereby, stay in the US while the labor certification or I-140 petition is pending. L-1 visa holders are not given this option under the law.

For more details regarding the advantages and disadvantages of each visa, please contact Law Offices of Neena Bohra, 302 W 37th Street, 5th Floor, NY, NY 10018



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