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Green cards for L-1 visa holders


A major advantage to the L-1 visa is that certain applicants qualifying for this visa may also qualify for faster green card processing. L-1 foreign nationals who are managers and executives are eligible for the “priority workers” category. Foreign nationals falling into this category may apply for permanent residency without having to undergo the time consuming labor certification process. 

Labor certification is a laborious procedure requiring that the employer prove that there are no minimally qualified U.S. workers to fill the foreign national’s position. The procedure is complicated, expensive, and there is no guarantee that it will eventually lead to a green card. Thus, avoiding this procedure is a prudent course to take when examining routes to permanent residency.  

In addition, immigrant visas are usually available in this category.  For most permanent residency categories, a limited number of immigrant visas are available. Consequently, even if an immigrant petition demonstrating the foreign national’s eligibility is approved, an applicant may not be able to immediately apply for permanent residency. Rather, the applicant will have to wait until an immigrant visa becomes available at which time she may apply to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa or apply to adjust her status. 

Complications can arise when the applicant is in the U.S. on a temporary visa, has proven that she qualifies for a permanent residency category, but must wait for years because an immigrant visa is not available. If her temporary visa runs out, she may have to return home and wait overseas until an immigrant visa becomes available. Since the supply of immigrant visas for the priority worker category usually exceeds the demand, typically, an immigrant visa is available so that this is not an issue. 

L-1 executives and managers interested in pursuing permanent residency in the priority worker category will have to meet the same basic elements required for their L-1 status. Therefore, the petition would have to show that the company that the applicant works for is a “qualifying organization” where it is doing business at least in the U.S. and in another country. It would also show that in the past three years, the applicant must have worked abroad for at least one year in the past three in a manager or executive capacity. Other elements address for the L-1 temporary visa status would also have to be discussed in this petition as well.





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