differences between h-1B and L visa
While the value of temporary workers cannot be overstated, it’s an unfortunate truth that navigating the intricacies of work visas can be difficult at best. In particular, knowing the differences between the H-1B visas and L visas can help you decide which visa type best fits your particular situation and it is with this in mind, the following guide has been developed to help explain the advantages and disadvantages of both H-1B visas and L Visas,.

L Visas and the foreign parent company

The L Visa can be used to transfer employees internationally for a temporary period. The L1 visa can only be filed by the foreign parent company with which the worker has spent the past three years in some sort of supervisory capacity. It applies equally to both multinational companies or even start-up companies who are hoping to increase international operations. This includes individuals who will be fulfilling “managerial work” done under an L1-A visa or “executive work” done under an L-1B visa.

The H-1B visa cap

As easy and accessible as the H-1B visa may be, it still has its share of drawbacks, namely with regards to its supply This limited number of H-1B workers is referred to as the H-1B cap. The H-1B cap has become stricter every year for the past few years. To read more about the 2014 H-1B cap, check out our article, “H1B 2014 Cap – Potentially Most Competitive Year for Workers”.

Every year, the H-1B visa is capped at 65,000 applicants, with a smaller share reserved for those from Chile or Singapore. In addition, the H-1B has provisions for up to 20,000 graduates from U.S. institutions that have recently acquired their master’s degree. While the L-1 visa may be harder to acquire, it does not come with any sort of capped limit.

H-1B versus L visa wage requirements

In terms of legal wages, the L1 visa has no requirements, as the visa is primarily tied with the foreign entity for which it is issued. The H-1B does, however, require that its workers be paid at least the prevailing wage for that area of expertise. It should also be mentioned that while the L visa makes no specific reference to acceptable wages, issues can still arise over improper payment for services already rendered.

There are major differences between how wages are handled for both H-1B visas and L visas. Wages for workers with an H-1B temporary work permit must be handled by their U.S. employer of the U.S. company. The L-1 visa allows wages to be managed by either the foreign parent company or the U.S. company…

Families of L-1 and H-1B visa holders

Families that wish to travel with the worker will find it much easier to do so under an L visa, as this allows the visa holder to qualify for an Employment Authorization Document and bring their family with them to work during their stay. Unfortunately, H-1B temporary workers are unable to access such a document and are unable to have their families work in the United States during their stay.unless the spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age unless each family member acquires H-4 visa.

“Blanket” vs individual filing for H-1B and L Visas

There are also specific H-1B requirements that must be met by a U.S. company before it can hire a worker with an H-1B permit. While these limitations theoretically applies to holders of the L-1 visa as well, there are no formal legal proceeding required by the Department of Labor. In addition, companies may file a blanket petition for all workers with an L-1 visa, whereas each H-1B holder must be petitioned individually.

Length of stay for H-1B and L visas

In general, both visas have a maximum duration, but extensions are available in some cases to a certain point. As a general rule of thumb, an L visa grants the worker a seven year stay, while the H-1B grants the worker a maximum six year stay. In either case, it is possible to re-apply for the L visa and H-1B visa after the visa duration has run out, but the petition must be for an entirely new position.

Filing for a Green Card with an H-1B and L visa

Many individuals will be interested in filing for their green card once their H-1B or L visa is expired. The L1 visa requires little to no extra paperwork and can grant its applicant a green card in less than one year. The H-1B requires a PERM certification. To learn more about PERM labor certifications, visit our section “PERM Labor Certifications”.

Need help applying for an H-1B visa or L visa?

If you are interested in pursuing an H-1B visa or L visa, call Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC at 703-594-4040 or fill out our online form for a consultation. Our immigration department has a proven track record of success and would love to hear from you. Call today!

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.

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