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Houston Immigration Lawyers > Blog > Immigration > From L-1 to Green Card: Transitioning from a Temporary Worker to a Permanent Resident

From L-1 to Green Card: Transitioning from a Temporary Worker to a Permanent Resident


For many L-1 visa holders, the journey to the United States begins with the promise of temporary work as an intracompany transferee. However, the ultimate goal for some is to transition from this temporary status to becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR), commonly known as holding a green card. This transition is not just a change in visa status; it’s a significant step towards long-term security and opportunity in the U.S.

The L-1 Visa

The L-1 visa facilitates the transfer of key employees from a foreign company to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, or affiliated company. There are two types of L-1 visas: L-1A for managers and executives, and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge. While the L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, it uniquely allows for “dual intent,” meaning holders can pursue permanent residency without jeopardizing their L-1 status.

The Path to Permanent Residency: EB-1C Category

For L-1A visa holders, the most direct route to a green card is through the EB-1C category, which is specifically designed for multinational managers and executives. This category recognizes the value of allowing international companies to retain their key leaders and decision-makers permanently in the U.S.

Eligibility Criteria for EB-1C

To qualify for an EB-1C green card, applicants must meet several criteria:

  • Employment Outside the U.S.: Applicants must have been employed outside the United States for at least one of the three years preceding the petition or their last entry into the country in a managerial or executive capacity by the firm or corporation or its affiliate or subsidiary. 
  • Employment in the U.S.: Applicants must be entering the U.S. to continue service to the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate in a managerial or executive capacity.
  • Qualifying Relationship: The petitioning U.S. employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company (parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate) and have been doing business for at least one year.

Application Process

  1. Petition Filing: The U.S. employer must file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on behalf of the L-1A visa holder. Unlike the L-1 visa process, the EB-1C does not allow self-petitioning; the employer must sponsor the applicant.
  1. Evidence Submission: Along with the I-140 petition, the employer must submit evidence documenting the applicant’s managerial or executive role and the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign entities.
  1. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Once the I-140 petition is approved, the applicant can adjust their status to a permanent resident by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if they are already in the U.S. If, outside the U.S., they will undergo consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  1. Permanent Residency: Upon approval of the I-485 application or after completing consular processing, the applicant becomes a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Contact BBA Immigration

Transitioning from an L-1 visa to a green card is a significant step that opens up new opportunities for permanent settlement and career growth in the U.S. The EB-1C category offers a viable pathway for multinational managers and executives to secure their future in the United States. By understanding the eligibility requirements, preparing thoroughly, and seeking expert advice, L-1 visa holders can navigate this transition successfully.

At BBA Immigration, we specialize in assisting L-1 visa holders and their employers through the EB-1C application process. Our team is dedicated to providing expert guidance and support every step of the way. Contact us today to learn if you are an ideal candidate for the EB-1C category.



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