While the H1-B visa is well-known to many people and has been brought to the forefront through Trump’s campaign, few know about the L-1 visa.
According to the U.S. embassy “If you are an employee of an international company who is being temporarily transferred to a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the same company in the United States, you will require an Intra-Company transfer (L-1) visa”. It has a duration of up to 7 years.
The H1-B visa is “a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.” It has a maximum duration of up to 6 years.
The following is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the H1-B and L-1 Visas-
Benefits of the L-1 visa
- The L1 visa does not have a fixed quota for the number of visas approved in a year.
- There is no degree requirement.
- To obtain the L-1 visa, the worker does not need to have a job in a specialized field like engineering or medicine.
- An L2 spouse can work in the U.S. by filing an Employment Authorization Document.
Limitations of the L-1 Visa
- It is not possible to get an extension for the L-1 visa.
- The L-1 visa can only be petitioned by the company in which the person has worked for one in the preceding 3 years.
Benefits of the H1-B visa
- Although the H1-B visa has a maximum duration of 6 years, it is possible to get an extension.
- The H1-B visa petition can be filed for the worker by any company based in the U.S.
Limitations of the H1-B visa
- The H1-B visa has a maximum capacity of 65,000 visas per year, along with an additional 20,000 for people who graduate with a master’s degree from the U.S.
- Unlike the L-1 visa, workers must hold a U.S. bachelors or higher degree.
Both the L-1 visa and the H1-B visa have their advantages and disadvantages. After taking eligibility into consideration, workers should weigh the pros and cons of both these visas to decide which one best suits their needs.