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L-1B or H-1B visa?

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  • L-1B or H-1B visa?


    company A (Finland branch of US company), for which I was working from Oct 2009 was acquired (owned) by other company B (US company) in May 2011. I am now working for Company B branch office in Filand. I will be soon relocated to US.

    So in this case do i need to apply for L-1B or H-1B visa?


  • #2
    I am assuming you are eligible for both. For the L1 you need to be employed in the foreign subsidiary for a minimum of continuous 365 days in the last three years. This should not include any time physically spent in the US during that time on visitor/business visa. If you have visited US during this time in such a capacity then just add the extra number of days for you to be employed at the foreign subsidiary. I am not sure how acquisitions of foreign subsidiaries play a role here as in your case.

    It's very important that you check with you company attorney for exact eligibility requirements.

    As far as which visa to get, It's totally your call based on your specific situation. But here are the major differences:
    1. With a L1B you spouse can work after getting an EAD, which is not possible if you are on a H1B.
    2. With a L1B if you need to change to a different employer, the new employer will have to file a H1B petition for you which will be subject to the 65000 cap limit for the year, whereas if you already have a H1B, then the new petition will be cap exempt.
    3. L1B is valid for 3+2 years wheres H1B is valid for 3+3 years and can be extended further based on GC processing stage.
    Rest no major difference.

    I am not a lawyer, so please get detailed legal advise from your attorney regarding all the points above if they apply to you.
    I am not a lawyer and this is not a legal advice.
    Use at your own risk.


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply!

      One thing i am not sure about L1B is that If i understood correctly it is intra-company transfer, and basically both Company A and Company B had different proprietary products before the acquisition which may raise question by US Immigration bureau or consulate officer that I don’t have training and experience on Company B products in place that I am transferred to. I don't think this question will be raised in case of H1B since I have strong education background (bachelor's degree and master’s degree) as well as many years work experience.

      what do you think?


      • #4
        As I said before the dynamics in your situation are different from a regular L1B, since there is an acquisition involved.

        The best person to counsel you on whether there is a valid case for L1B is your/company attorney. In any case finally it their (employers) decision on which visa they want to process.
        I am not a lawyer and this is not a legal advice.
        Use at your own risk.


        • #5
          Ok, thanks!