The Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a Green Card) has many benefits, and the most prominent one is that it allows to you stay in the U.S. permanently as well as work for any employer or do any kind of legal business.
As L-1 visa is a dual intent visa, filing for a green card does not cause issues with the L-1 nonimmigrant status. The employment-based green card has many categories, such as EB1, EB2, EB3, etc., based on the job requirements of the employer and the qualifications and/or experience of the alien.
The green card process is different for L1A: Managers/Executives and for L1B: Specialized Knowledge.
General procedure for an employment-based green card.
- L1A: Managers/Executives
Eligibility requirements for the green card application in EB1C category are so similar to the eligibility requirements to qualify in L1A visa that you can say that the EB1C category for an employment-based green card was created especially for L1A visa holders. However, it is not required that the alien be an L1A visa holder in order to qualify for EB1C category.
The major advantage of applying in EB1C category is that you don’t have to go through the labor certification process that essentially takes the permission from the U.S. Department of Labor that the employer has tried enough, and there are no minimally qualified candidates available in the U.S. market. Labor certification is an expensive and time-consuming process, and there are no guarantees of success.
In EB1C category, the employer directly files for Form I-140, petition for immigrant worker. As the priority date is almost always current in EB1 category, the employer can concurrently file for Form I-485, Adjustment of Status. However, if the alien is outside the U.S., he/she can get Immigrant Visa once I-140 is approved.
The entire process typically would take less than one year.
As long as you were employed in a managerial or executive position for one continuous year in the preceding three years (in the U.S. or outside the U.S.), you can apply for a green card in EB1C category immediately. Therefore, if you were already appropriately employed before entering the U.S., you can apply for a green card immediately. Otherwise, you will have to be on L1A visa status for one year before applying for a green card in EB1C category. The latter would be the case if the alien is currently on L1A visa but was employed abroad as specialized knowledge professional.
- L1B: Specialized Knowledge
There is nothing special about this category for filing the green card. Therefore, the alien would have to through the PERM labor certification and the rest of the green card process, as usual, just like other employment-based green card beneficiaries.
This process may take several years, as most applicants are subject to the annual quotas that are limited by the category and further limited by the country of birth.
However, as the green card is for the employment in the future after the alien gets the green card, if such an alien who is currently on L1B who was in a managerial or executive position for one continuous year in the preceding three years prior to admission into the U.S., and is offered the position in a managerial or executive position (which the alien will work on after getting the green card), they can apply for a green card in EB1C category even while on L1B visa.
In both cases above, the alien is eligible to get the green card for his/her dependents: spouse and minor unmarried children under the age of 21 years, who would usually (but not necessarily) be on L2 Visa.
Of course, the L1 visa holder is also eligible to get the green card through other means, such as family based green card. E.g., if he/she gets married to a U.S. citizen.
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