If you’re a non-immigrant waiting to lawfully explore career opportunities in the United States, then you’re no different than the thousands of people applying for visas to work in a country with flourishing economy.

With a promising economy, myriad career options, and an opportunity to experience the ‘legendary lifestyle’, you should ideally now start looking for work visas options open and best suited for you.

Knowing the right visa option, amongst L-1 visa and H-1B visa, two of the most popular U.S. work visas, you can move forward and make the entire visa acquiring process a cakewalk.

Here’s the difference you need to know between an L-1 visa and an H-1B visa for conveniently selecting your best option-

The Main Difference Between The H-1B And L-1 Visa:

  • L-1 visa known as Intra-Company Transferee Visa comprises of L-1A visa (businesses trying to relocate their Manager or Executives to a new branch or subsidiary company in the U.S.), and L-1B visas (a transfer of specialized knowledge person to U.S. company)
  • The H-1B visa is known as a multiple entry non-immigrant visa, however, provides access to immigrants willing to temporarily work for an American employer or American-based company.

Employment Requirements For Working In The United States

  • Eligibility for an L-1 Visa- In an ideal scenario, you should be transferred from an overseas branch office (parent or subsidiary company of the U.S. company). Your income here is drawn from an overseas company or from a U.S. company.
  • An L-1 visa holder is permitted to switch their employer by acquiring a new visa status- an H-1B visa.
  • Eligibility for an H-1B visa- Your work opportunity gets fulfilled in an event where a U.S. company is unable to hire eligible American citizens for the role, which also concludes that you need to be well qualified for that role. Your income here gets drawn from the U.S. company.
  • H-1B visa holders can willfully switch employers and companies, provided their new employer files a new visa petition to the USICS.

Work/ Academic Qualification

  • L-1 Visa- Eligibility here depends upon having acquired at least 1 year of experience in the last three years in one of the qualifying positions of the overseas branch of the company you’re transferring from. Academic qualifications are not mandatory for procuring an L-1 visa.
  • H-1B Visa- With work experience not being a concern, applicants must at least hold a Bachelor’s Degree or showcase advanced training or vocational skills before applying for an H-1B visa.

Approval Process

  • L-1 Visa- There is no need to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Labor for a job position that couldn’t be occupied by any qualified American citizen first.
  • H-1B Visa- An open application needs to be provided for approval from the U.S. Department of Labours (DOL) by your employer proving that you’re acquiring a position that wasn’t filled by an American qualified worker.

Visa Extension

  • L-1 Visa- Your work permit is available as per contract, which can be extended up to 7 years for an L-1A visa and 5 years for an L-1B visa, post which a switch to a different immigration route is expected.
  • H-1B Visa- Applicants can avail of visa extension till 6 years, post which one can apply for Employment-Based Green Card while holding a qualifying job.

Benefits For Family

Both L-1 and H-1B visas provide the convenience of bringing your family to the U.S. as dependents while you work. They can choose to study and work with an L-2 Visa and H-4 Visa respectively and apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to experience life with you in the U.S.

Green Card

  • L-1 Visa- To obtain a Green Card while working in the United States, you can apply for an adjustment of residency status with the USICS and get sponsored for a PERM Certificate by your U.S. employer.
  • H-1B Visa- Your employer can help you acquire a Green Card post your visa expiry by sponsoring you for a PERM Certificate.

Quota Cap

  • L-1 Visa- There is no such annual quota or cap of how many L1 visas are issued.
  • H-1B Visa- There exists an annual Quota/Cap of 85,000 H-1B visas. Overseas specialized workers receive 65,000 of them, and international graduates with advanced degrees from U.S. educational institutions receive 20,000.

To help make a swift decision and a seamless en route to the United States, while also considering your other work visa options like E2 visa, or citizenship through investment, contact us today!

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