L1 vs H1b - path to green card

This is part 2 of our H1b vs L1 visa comparison. H1b vs L1 part 1 for more details.

In this post, we are comparing the path to permanent residency (green card) of H1b worker compared to L1 worker.

L1 vs H1b to green card

Both H1b and L1 visas are temporary non-immigrant visas. But people entering the U.S. can then apply for permanent residency (green card). However, H1b to green card can be very different from L1 to green card. Typically, H1b workers obtain green card through permanent visa categories called Eb2/3. And some L1 visa workers follow the same path as H1b workers. But there is a sub category of L1 visa called L1a. These workers typically obtain green card through a category for international managers called Eb1c. Eb2/3 and Eb1c process are vastly different. Eb1c also takes the shortest time to obtain. No wonder the demand is becoming high.

L1 visa internally have 2 sub-categories L1A and L1B. L1B typically follow the same options as H1b visa holders. i.e., applying through the employers for Eb2 or Eb3. And L1A in some cases apply for Eb2 and Eb3. But in some cases their employers apply for them in Employment category 1, commonly referred to as Eb1C. People who qualify as “international managers” typically go through Eb1C. So, the primary path is Eb2/Eb3 or Eb1C. There are other Eb1 categories, but the qualification for those positions are very high and few people actually qualify.

The difference between these categories are significantly different in terms of the process and also the time duration. In both Eb2 and Eb3 categories, the employers have to follow a lengthy process to prove that the positions that are being filled by foreign nationals could not be filled by American workers. This is proved by ensuring a salary according to the prevailing job market is paid and also recruitment process that run over a few months to try to hire a U.S. worker. Eb1C process skips all these steps and hence more quicker. That’s the reason the demand has also increased in recent years. For example, Eb1C visas issues to Indians has doubled in the last 2 years compared to years prior.

Attribute H1b to Eb2/Eb3 L1A to Eb1c
Prevailing wage determination Sponsoring Employer should get approval from Dept. of Labor (DOL) on the salary to be paid to the foreign national. DOL verifies that the foreign worker wage and working conditions are similiar to comparably employed U.S. workers Waived
Job Advertisements The employer is required to advertise the job on it’s own website, national & local newspapers and DOL’s job bank Waived
American First The employer should try to recruit a U.S. worker for the advertised position atleast for 60 days. The resumes received, interviews conduted should be clearly documented Waived
U.S. market standardization of qualifications Market labor test ensures job descriptions, qualifications and salary are normalized to US market. USCIS regulations also govern the job description and qualifications. Employer primarily defines the qualifications for the employee. Comparison to U.S. market standards doesn’t happen because there is no labor market test.
Wait times 10+ years for employees born in countries like India and China. Immediate for other countries Immediate for everyone including Indians.

Eb1C data obtained from USCIS

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