L-1A Visa

L-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

Description

The L-1A visa is for organizations doing business both in the US and overseas. It is used for the transfer of managers and executives from an overseas to a US office.
The L-1B visa is for organizations doing business both in the US and overseas. It is used for the transfer of specialized knowledge employees from an overseas to a US office.
The H-1B visa is for US-based organizations wishing to employ foreign nationals in professional positions.

Eligibility

The US and overseas entity must have a qualifying relationship.

The foreign national must have worked for the overseas entity for at least 1 year during the preceding 3 years.

The US role must be in a managerial or executive capacity.
Professional workers who hold at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or its equivalent, and will be employed in a position which requires such a degree

No prior affiliation with a US or overseas office of the organization is required.

Sponsoring Entity

Either the US-based entity or the foreign entity can be a sponsor.
Only a US-based entity can be a sponsor.

Scale of Business Operations

Both the US entity and the foreign entity must be doing business during the entire period of the transferred employee’s stay in the US on L-1 visa. “Doing business” is defined as the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods or services, and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office.
The organization must be financially viable and of sufficient size and organizational complexity to support hiring the H-1B candidate.

While established companies will not generally experience difficulty in demonstrating an ability to pay, smaller companies and startups will need to document the availability of sufficient current and future resources to maintain the offered H-1B positions.

Annual Quota

None.
65,000

In addition, 20,000 visas are available for candidates with a US master’s degree or higher.

Certain educational and research organizations are exempt from the cap.

When to file

Any time of the year.
April 1

Cap-exempt H-1B visas can be filed any time of the year.

DOL Approval

Not needed.
Prior to filing an H-1B visa petition, an employer must submit for approval a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the US Department of Labor (DOL).

Wage

No minimum salary is required.
Employers must pay the H-1B workers the required wage rate, which is the greater of
  • a wage that is at least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers who are similarly qualified for the job, or
  • the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.
  • Education Requirement

    There are no formal education requirements for the L-1A visa.
    There are no formal educational requirements for the L-1B visa.

    However, blanket L-1B visa applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position.
    The H-1B visa applicant must hold at least a four-year US bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position. A foreign degree equivalent is also accepted.

    Alternatively, the degree requirement can be satisfied with a combination of higher education and specialized work experience. Three years of relevant work experience equal one year of university level study.

    Work Restrictions

    The L-1 visa holder is authorized to work only for the sponsoring organization. In addition, the L-1 employee can only work in the same position, perform the same duties, and be based in the same location as indicated in the L-1 visa petition. Any material changes in the terms of employment require the filing of an amended visa petition.
    The H-1B visa holder is authorized to work only for the sponsoring organization. In addition, the H-1B employee can only work in the same position, perform the same duties, and in the same location as indicated in the H-1B visa petition. Any material changes in the terms of employment require the filing of an amended visa petition.

    The H-1B visa holder can be concurrently employed by multiple organizations, but each employer must file a separate H-1B visa petition.

    Portability

    Not applicable.
    An H-1B visa holder who is already in the US can begin working for a new employer as soon as the new employer files an H-1B visa petition. The new employment can commence without the need to wait for USCIS to approve the I-129 petition.

    Period of Stay

    7 years maximum

    An initial L-1A visa may be granted for up to 3 years. Extensions are possible in 2 year increments.

    A New Office L-1 visa may be approved for a maximum of 1 year.

    Only time spent physically in the US counts towards the maximum. However, any time spent in the US on H-1B visa also counts towards the limit.
    5 years maximum

    An initial L-1B visa may be granted for up to 3 years. Extensions are possible in 2 year increments.

    A New Office L-1 visa may be approved for a maximum of 1 year.

    Only time spent physically in the US counts towards the maximum. However, any time spent in the US on H-1B visa also counts towards the limit
    6 years maximum

    The H-1B visa is initially granted for 3 years and then can be extended for another 3 years.

    In certain limited circumstances the visa can be extended beyond 6 years if the employer has initiated a green card application process.

    Only time spent physically in the US counts towards the maximum. However, any time spent in the US on L-1 visa also counts towards the limit.

    Blanket Visa

    Qualifying large companies can take advantage of the blanket L-1 visa option which allows them to bypass the traditional USCIS visa petition procedure. Once a blanket L-1 petition approval is secured, L-1 visa applicants proceed directly to a US consulate abroad to obtain a visa.
    Not available. Individual visa petition must be filed with USCIS for each worker.

    Spouse and children

    Spouses and children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive L-2 visa to accompany the L-1 visa holder in the US.

    Spouses of L-1 visa holders are authorized to work in the US for any employer after first applying for and obtaining an employment authorization document (EAD) from USCIS.
    Spouses and children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive H-4 visa to accompany the H-1B visa holder in the US.

    Spouses of H-1B visa holders are generally not authorized to undertake employment in the US.

    Recent changes in the law allow H-4 spouses to receive a work permit if a green card process is under way for the principal H-1B visa holder.

    Green Card

    The L-1A visa provides a direct path to permanent residence. This fast-track route eliminates the onerous requirement for the employer to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).
    The traditional labor certification process must be followed.

    Labor certification is the process requiring employers to prove that there are no minimally qualified US workers available to fill the position.
    The traditional labor certification process must be followed.

    Labor certification is the process requiring employers to prove that there are no minimally qualified US workers available to fill the position.

    Termination of Employment

    The law does not impose any obligations on the employer regarding the termination of L-1 employees.
    The employer must notify USCIS of the termination and pay the cost of return transportation to the H-1B employee’s home country.

    Compliance and Record Retention

    The employer must maintain a L-1 compliance file for each employee containing a copy of the L-1 visa petition and all supporting documentation.

    USCIS can conduct unannounced site inspections to verify information contained in pending and approved visa petitions.
    The employer must prepare and keep a Public Access File (PAF) for each H-1B worker. The PAF consists of the labor condition application (LCA) filed for the employee and necessary supporting documentation. This file must be kept available for public examination The employer must also maintain a non-public H-1B compliance file for each employee containing a copy of the H-1B visa petition and all supporting documentation.

    All payroll records must be retained for a period of 3 years.

    USCIS and DOL can conduct unannounced site inspections to verify information contained in pending and approved visa petitions as well as compliance with the terms of the LCA.

    Description

    L-1A Visa

    The L-1A visa is for organizations doing business both in the US and overseas. It is used for the transfer of managers and executives from an overseas to a US office.

    L-1B Visa

    The L-1B visa is for organizations doing business both in the US and overseas. It is used for the transfer of specialized knowledge employees from an overseas to a US office.

    H-1B Visa

    The H-1B visa is for US-based organizations wishing to employ foreign nationals in professional positions.

    Eligibility

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    The US and overseas entity must have a qualifying relationship.

    The foreign national must have worked for the overseas entity for at least 1 year during the preceding 3 years.

    The US role must be in a managerial or executive capacity.

    H-1B Visa

    Professional workers who hold at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or its equivalent, and will be employed in a position which requires such a degree

    No prior affiliation with a US or overseas office of the organization is required.

    Sponsoring Entity

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    Either the US-based entity or the foreign entity can be a sponsor.

    H-1B Visa

    Only a US-based entity can be a sponsor.

    Scale of Business Operations

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    Both the US entity and the foreign entity must be doing business during the entire period of the transferred employee’s stay in the US on L-1 visa. “Doing business” is defined as the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods or services, and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office.

    H-1B Visa

    The organization must be financially viable and of sufficient size and organizational complexity to support hiring the H-1B candidate.

    While established companies will not generally experience difficulty in demonstrating an ability to pay, smaller companies and startups will need to document the availability of sufficient current and future resources to maintain the offered H-1B positions.

    Annual Quota

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    None.

    H-1B Visa

    65,000

    In addition, 20,000 visas are available for candidates with a US master’s degree or higher.

    Certain educational and research organizations are exempt from the cap.

    When to file

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    Any time of the year.

    H-1B Visa

    April 1

    Cap-exempt H-1B visas can be filed any time of the year.

    DOL Approval

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    Not needed.

    H-1B Visa

    Prior to filing an H-1B visa petition, an employer must submit for approval a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the US Department of Labor (DOL).

    Wage

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    No minimum salary is required.

    H-1B Visa

    Employers must pay the H-1B workers the required wage rate, which is the greater of
  • a wage that is at least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers who are similarly qualified for the job, or
  • the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.
  • Work Restrictions

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    The L-1 visa holder is authorized to work only for the sponsoring organization. In addition, the L-1 employee can only work in the same position, perform the same duties, and be based in the same location as indicated in the L-1 visa petition. Any material changes in the terms of employment require the filing of an amended visa petition.

    H-1B Visa

    The H-1B visa holder is authorized to work only for the sponsoring organization. In addition, the H-1B employee can only work in the same position, perform the same duties, and in the same location as indicated in the H-1B visa petition. Any material changes in the terms of employment require the filing of an amended visa petition.

    The H-1B visa holder can be concurrently employed by multiple organizations, but each employer must file a separate H-1B visa petition.

    Education Requirement

    L-1A Visa

    There are no formal education requirements for the L-1A visa.

    L-1B Visa

    There are no formal educational requirements for the L-1B visa.

    However, blanket L-1B visa applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position.

    H-1B Visa

    The H-1B visa applicant must hold at least a four-year US bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position. A foreign degree equivalent is also accepted.

    Alternatively, the degree requirement can be satisfied with a combination of higher education and specialized work experience. Three years of relevant work experience equal one year of university level study.

    Portability

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    Not applicable.

    H-1B Visa

    An H-1B visa holder who is already in the US can begin working for a new employer as soon as the new employer files an H-1B visa petition. The new employment can commence without the need to wait for USCIS to approve the I-129 petition.

    Period of Stay

    L-1A Visa

    7 years maximum

    An initial L-1A visa may be granted for up to 3 years. Extensions are possible in 2 year increments.

    A New Office L-1 visa may be approved for a maximum of 1 year.

    Only time spent physically in the US counts towards the maximum. However, any time spent in the US on H-1B visa also counts towards the limit.

    L-1B Visa

    5 years maximum

    An initial L-1B visa may be granted for up to 3 years. Extensions are possible in 2 year increments.

    A New Office L-1 visa may be approved for a maximum of 1 year.

    Only time spent physically in the US counts towards the maximum. However, any time spent in the US on H-1B visa also counts towards the limit.

    H-1B Visa

    6 years maximum

    The H-1B visa is initially granted for 3 years and then can be extended for another 3 years.

    In certain limited circumstances the visa can be extended beyond 6 years if the employer has initiated a green card application process.

    Only time spent physically in the US counts towards the maximum. However, any time spent in the US on L-1 visa also counts towards the limit.

    Blanket Visa

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    Qualifying large companies can take advantage of the blanket L-1 visa option which allows them to bypass the traditional USCIS visa petition procedure. Once a blanket L-1 petition approval is secured, L-1 visa applicants proceed directly to a US consulate abroad to obtain a visa.

    H-1B Visa

    Not available. Individual visa petition must be filed with USCIS for each worker.

    Spouse and children

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    Spouses and children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive L-2 visa to accompany the L-1 visa holder in the US.

    Spouses of L-1 visa holders are authorized to work in the US for any employer after first applying for and obtaining an employment authorization document (EAD) from USCIS.

    H-1B Visa

    Spouses and children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive H-4 visa to accompany the H-1B visa holder in the US.

    Spouses of H-1B visa holders are generally not authorized to undertake employment in the US.

    Recent changes in the law allow H-4 spouses to receive a work permit if a green card process is under way for the principal H-1B visa holder.

    Green Card

    L-1A Visa

    The L-1A visa provides a direct path to permanent residence. This fast-track route eliminates the onerous requirement for the employer to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).

    L-1B Visa

    The traditional labor certification process must be followed.

    Labor certification is the process requiring employers to prove that there are no minimally qualified US workers available to fill the position.

    H-1B Visa

    The traditional labor certification process must be followed.

    Labor certification is the process requiring employers to prove that there are no minimally qualified US workers available to fill the position.

    Termination of Employment

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    The law does not impose any obligations on the employer regarding the termination of L-1 employees.

    H-1B Visa

    The employer must notify USCIS of the termination and pay the cost of return transportation to the H-1B employee’s home country.

    Compliance and Record Retention

    L-1A Visa

    L-1B Visa

    The employer must maintain a L-1 compliance file for each employee containing a copy of the L-1 visa petition and all supporting documentation.

    USCIS can conduct unannounced site inspections to verify information contained in pending and approved visa petitions.

    H-1B Visa

    The employer must prepare and keep a Public Access File (PAF) for each H-1B worker. The PAF consists of the labor condition application (LCA) filed for the employee and necessary supporting documentation. This file must be kept available for public examination The employer must also maintain a non-public H-1B compliance file for each employee containing a copy of the H-1B visa petition and all supporting documentation.

    All payroll records must be retained for a period of 3 years.

    USCIS and DOL can conduct unannounced site inspections to verify information contained in pending and approved visa petitions as well as compliance with the terms of the LCA.

    Law Offices of

    Steven Nikolov

    About Us

    Law Office of Steven Nikolov is a law firm focused on the practice of US immigration law.

    We facilitate the transfer of business personnel and individuals to the United States. Based in London, we are available to clients globally.

    Contact

    • 107 Cheapside. Floor 2.
    • London EC2V 6DN
    • United Kingdom

    Copyright © 2019. Law Offices of Steven Nikolov. All rights reserved.

    Disclaimer

    Law Offices of

    Steven Nikolov

    About Us

    Law Office of Steven Nikolov is a law firm focused on the practice of US immigration law.

    We facilitate the transfer of business personnel and individuals to the United States. Based in London, we are available to clients globally.

    Contact

    • 107 Cheapside. Floor 2.
    • London EC2V 6DN
    • United Kingdom

    Copyright © 2019.
    Law Offices of Steven Nikolov.
    All rights reserved.

    Disclaimer