If you’re an L-1 visa holder, typically a manager or other supervisory employee of a firm that has roots abroad as well as a qualifying relationship in the United States, you may be a good candidate to transition to green card, or permanent resident, status. One way to make this switch is by applying for the EB-1C visa, an employment-based, first preference visa, that provides lawful, permanent residency to foreign individuals who are multinational executives or managers. The requirements for the EB-1C visa are similar to those of the L-1, and since the L-1 visa is a “dual intent” visa, the applicant and his/her family are permitted to apply for permanent resident status without disrupting their L-1 status.
Requirements for L-1 and EB-1C
The L-1 visa has four main requirements an employee should meet. He should, first, be a manager, executive or have “specialized knowledge” in the organization by which he’s employed abroad.
Second, it’s mandatory the employee has worked for the entity overseas for at least one year or the past three, and intends to provide an executive or managerial function at the same entity domestically.
Third, the entity in question must have a qualifying relationship with its American affiliate, as a parent, subsidiary or branch of the foreign office, and must be doing business or have immediate plans to do business in the United States. Lastly, for companies seeking to establish new offices in this country, the workplace must be up and running shortly after the applicant arrives in the nation.
Like the L-1 visa, the EB-1C has a set of stipulations regarding employment history, position in the company, and skills the employee can offer to the organization in the United States. There are several main requirements, some which echo requirements for the L-1, and some that differ:
(1) the employee must have been employed outside the U.S. for at least one of the past three years by a firm or corporation, and intend to continue working for that organization domestically,
(2) the employee must be a multinational manager or executive,
(3) the petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer who has done business for at least a year,
(4) the employer must be an affiliate, subsidiary, or the same organization that has employed the applicant abroad. Extensive documentation may be required for entities that are not yet well-established.
As far as the managerial requirement for the EB-1C, the employee should prove he/she directly provides functions such as: management of the organization or a department or component therein, supervision of other managerial employees, the execution of personnel decisions such as the employment or termination of workers, and participation in day-to-day direction of operations.
The executive requirement mandates the employee perform the following job duties: direct management of the entity, and broad decision-making over operations, goals and/or procedures. The employee should not be under the supervision of anyone but the highest decision-making powers in the organization.
L-1 status is a plus for EB-1C applicants, though not a prerequisite; since candidates who are L-1 visa holders have had to meet many of the same requirements, they may be considered more favorably for the EB-1C.
Steps needed to transition from L-1A to EB-1C
The application for EB-1C status must be filed by a petitioning employer, who should fill out USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, along with a filing fee of $580. Once this form has been approved, the applicant can file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status (if already in the United States).
Understanding key differences between L-1A and EB-1C Visas
While the L1-A is a non-immigrant category visa, the EB-1C is an immigrant category; in other words, the L1-A visa is intended for those who have permanent residence outside the U.S. and are in the country temporarily, while the EB-1C visa is meant for those seeking to remain in the U.S. on a permanent basis.
The EB-1C visa applicant must be sponsored by an employer filing a petition for that particular individual, whereas the L-1A applicant can be covered by a blanket petition.
While some L-1 visa applicants are admitted to the country based on “specialized knowledge,” this requirement is not sufficient when applying for an EB-1C visa.
Why the EB-1C?
The EB-1C visa has several benefits compared to its counterparts. For example, unlike other visas, such as the EB-5 visa, it requires no significant monetary investment in exchange for permanent residency. Also, there is no “conditional” period for a green card. Moreover, the employer, rather than the applicant, is responsible for filing forms and paying fees.
Seeking Professional Assistance
Applicants and employers are advised to seek professional help from a specialist, such as an immigration attorney, who has the most comprehensive and up-to-date information about this transition, and can successfully guide the petitioner and employee through the process.
Contact KPPB Law For More Information
To learn more about U.S. visas and the immigration process, and to take advantage of our array of immigration services, please contact KPPB Law at by giving us a call or sending us a message online today.