L1 Visa vs H1B Visa - Difference Between H&L Visa USA

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MOEC

29 October 2022

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Overview

L1 and H1B visas are two work visas in the United States. There is a similarity between the two, like the dual intent of benefit. But there are differences too.

This blog explores the stark comparisons between the L1 visa vs H1B visa.

What is L1 Visa?

An L1 visa is an intra-company transferee visa. It is a non-immigrant visa that the US Congress imposed in 1970. Large corporations with operations in several nations can temporarily transfer staff in specialised jobs to the US with the help of the L1 visa.

There are two distinct visa types, the L1A and L1B, which can be used to transfer workers to the United States.

L1As include managers and executives, whereas L1Bs have employees with specialised skills.

L1B visas are for employees of organisations who have specialised in a particular field of knowledge, such as a proprietary product or procedure, but who are not senior executives. People who qualify for L1 visas do not need a US equivalent degree of four years.

One of the most significant benefits is that there is no annual cap on the number of L1 visas that must be issued.

While employees with specialised expertise on L1B have 5 years of experience, managers/executives on L1A have 7 years. A person cannot enter the US on an L1A visa, stay there for seven years, then enter on an H1 visa, and stay there for another six years.

What is H1B Visa?

The H1-B visa is a multiple-entry nonimmigrant visa that enables foreign employees of US businesses to work in the US. Workers eligible to transfer to the United States under this visa category should work in specialised fields. There is a yearly general quota (65,000). A further 20,000 spots are reserved for people with master's degrees. Holders of an H1B visa are permitted to work in the US for 6 years. The initial approval period is 3 years. However, the holder can extend it for another 3 years. An H1B applicant may request a one-year extension if the I-140 is submitted 365 days before the visa's expiration in its sixth year. While L1 Visas are ideal for international companies and take less time to get than H1B visas, H1B visas have strict restrictions. Additionally, L-1 and H-1B visa holders can pursue a green card while remaining in the country as a nonimmigrant, thanks to the dual intent of these visa categories. You can later apply for an H-1B visa in the US if you enter with an L1 visa. The applicant's nationality determines how long the visa will be valid.

Difference Between H1B and L1 Visa

The L1 and H1B visas differ based on features. Let's have a look at them.

L1 Visa vs H1B Visa

Features

L1 Visa

H1B Visa

Employer

L1 visa can be filed by the branch of a foreign company where a worker has worked for 1 year at any executive or managerial position.

An employer based in the United States can hire anybody from another country under an H1B visa.

Education Requirements

Workers don't need to have any degree, even in specialised fields.

Workers need to have a degree, either in bachelor's or equivalent.

Payroll

Workers can be on the payroll of a US-based company or any foreign company.

Workers need to be on the payroll of a US-based company.

Spouse

L2 visa holders can acquire Employment Authorization Documents to find employment.

H4 visa holders can not get Employment Authorization Documents and, therefore, can not find work.

Approval from the Department of Labour

The employer need not get permission from the department of labour.

Approval from the department of labour is mandatory.

Duration

The maximum duration for L1A visa holders is 7 years, and for L1B is 5 years. Extensions are not permitted.

The maximum duration is of 6 years, and extensions are sometimes allowed.

Green Card

Visa holders (L1) can apply for a green card under the EBIC category, which prevents the need to undergo the labour certification process.

Employers must get approval from PERM labour certification for a green card.

Prevailing Wages

No specific requirements but low wages might become a problem.

H1 visa holders should get paid according to the prevailing wages.

L1B vs H1B: Which is Better?

On an H1B visa, the holder can stay for six years, whereas an L1A visa holder can stay up to 7 years, and an L1B visa holder for 5 years. There is an opportunity for an extension of stay on an H1B visa granting the holder an additional six years; however, there is no such extension for any L1 visa holder.

While the L-1 is more appropriate for those that work for multinational companies, the H-1B is more suitable for those that wish to work for American companies and have more flexibility.

Requirements for L1 and H1 Visa

Some of the basic requirements for obtaining an L1 Visa are:

  • Applicant has to be an employee of the parent company or its subsidiary branch for at least one of the last three years
  • Applicant must fall in the managerial, executive, or specialised knowledge category

The candidate needs to fulfil these requirements for obtaining an H1 visa:

  • Applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent
  • Employer must demonstrate the lack of qualified US applicants for the position
  • Applicant must possess deep knowledge in the required field

L1 Salary vs H1B Salary

In the united states, H1B visa holders are amongst the top-paid employees. Their wages begin at the 90th percentile of all wages in the country. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the median wage for an H-1B worker in 2021 was about $108,000.

While you can earn a minimum salary of up to USD 60,000 on an L1 visa.

H1B vs L1 for Green Card

If you intend to acquire an L1 visa, you can apply for a green card under the EBIC category, which prevents the need to undergo the labour certification process. Labour certification is a long and expensive process. L1 Visa holders can get their green card in under a year.

However, in the case of an H1B visa, employers need to get approval from PERM labour certification to acquire a green card.

H1B to L1B

You can convert your H1B visa to an L1B visa.

To do so, your employer must file for a change in your employment status.

The employer will fill out an I-129 form to submit a petition to the USCIS.

 

If you wish to learn more about the L1 and H1B visas, you may contact our expert counsellors at any Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC) branch. Our expert education counsellors will provide you with the best support and guidance for admission to European Universities. For more information or any queries, you mail us at application02@meridean.org or call us at 1800-1230-00011.

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