The L-1 visa is one of the best and quickest ways to achieve green card status. Once obtaining your L-1 visa, the path you take to get our green card status depends on whether you have an L-1A or L-1B visa. To learn more about the L-1A and L-1B visa see our article here. Furthermore, adjusting your status while already in the United States allows you to potentially receive permanent residence without having to return to your home country.
What Are Dual Intent Visas?
There are essentially two broad categories of U.S. visas: Dual Intent Visas and Nonimmigrant Intent Visas. Visas with Nonimmigrant Intent are essentially for temporary visitors to the United States, no matter how long their visa lets them legally stay in the country. These visa holders do not have the opportunity to adjust their status and achieve a Green Card/Permanent Residency to remain in the United States; on the basis of their Nonimmigrant Visa alone. Nonimmigrant Visa seekers (for the majority of Nonimmigrant Visas), must prove to the U.S. embassy if applying from abroad, that they don’t have the intent to remain permanently in the United States to be eligible for such a visa. Similarly, Nonimmigrant Visa holders (again for the majority of Nonimmigrant Visas), who are seeking admission to the United States for the first time or subsequent times, must also overcome what is legally called the “presumption of immigrant intent.” Meaning, that they have to convince the DHS official at the Port of Entry that their stay in the United States is not intended to be permanent, and that they intend to return to their home country. The United States generally assumes the individual intends to remain in the U.S. and the burden is on the alien to demonstrate that they do not intend to abandon their foreign residency. Some ways to demonstrate this intent are: family/personal ties in their home country, business ties, property holdings and ownership, and social and cultural ties. If a Nonimmigrant Visa holder shows intent to remain in the United States, they can potentially have their visa cancelled, have restrictions placed on future visa applications, or they can even be potentially banned from the United States.
However, there are a couple of visas that allow their holders to enter the United States as a Nonimmigrant, the issue of Immigrant Intent is inapplicable, and the option of applying for a Green Card in the future is explicitly preserved. The H-1B visa and the L-1 visa are two examples of Dual Intent Visas. These visas provide a clear path to a Green Card.
If you have an L-1A visa as a manager or executive, the process for obtaining a Green Card and Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status is faster and easier than those with an L-1B visa. An L-1A visa:
By not requiring a PERM Labor Certificate nor a Conditional Green Card period as other Dual Intent Visas do, this potentially saves you years of time, in obtaining your full Green Card status. A L-1A Visa holder is usually eligible to apply for an EB-1 Visa or an EB-2 Visa. For more information on the L-1A Visa, please see our article on L-1 Visas available here.
- Does not require a PERM Labor Certificate;
- Does not require a Conditional Green Card; and,
- Is less time consuming than other Green Card options.