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L1 Visa vs. H1B Visa: Complete Comparison for a US Work Visa


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The L1 and H1B visas are two common ways for people from other countries to work in the United States. These visas are used for different things and have their own rules and requirements.

In this blog post, we'll go into detail about each visa and then compare them side-by-side in a table to show the main differences between L1 and H1B visas.

The L1 Visa: Facilitates Intra-Company Transfers to the U.S.

In the complicated world of U.S. immigration, the L1 visa stands out as a good option for multinational companies that want to move their employees to the U.S. The L1 visa programme was created by the U.S. Congress in 1970.

Its main purpose is to make it easier for people to move within the same company. It has two subcategories: L1A and L1B. In this article, we'll look at the basics of the L1 visa, its subcategories, and the benefits it gives to both employers and employees.

What is an L1 Visa?

The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that helps multinational companies move their employees temporarily to the United States.

Companies that do business in more than one country need this programme because it lets them bring in specialised talent from their international branches.

The L1 visa has two main categories, each of which is for a certain type of employee.

1. What is L1A Visa?

The L1A visa is an option leading to US made for company managers and executives. This category is for people who are in key leadership roles and have the power to make decisions. People with an L1A visa are in charge of running the business and leading teams.

Highlights of L1A Visa:

  • Duration of L1A Visa: L1A visa holders are typically granted a maximum initial period of one year. However, this visa can be extended for a total duration of up to seven years.
  • Green Card Eligibility: One of the standout advantages of the L1A visa is its eligibility for the employment-based green card category, known as EB1C. This category allows L1A visa holders to apply for a green card without undergoing the labour certification process, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
  • Petition: Employers can choose to file a blanket petition for L1A visa holders. This streamlined process benefits large multinational corporations by reducing paperwork.
  • Prevailing Wage: Unlike some other visa categories, there are no specific wage requirements for L1A visa holders. However, employers should ensure that the compensation package is competitive and fair.
  • Employer: The L1A visa can be filed by the subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of a foreign company where the employee (the alien) has worked in an executive or managerial capacity for at least one continuous year within the three years preceding the visa application.
  • Cap: A notable advantage of the L1A visa program is that it is not subject to an annual cap, meaning there is no limit to the number of L1A visas issued each year.

2. What is L1B Visa?

The L1B visa is for people who have special skills or knowledge. This category is for people who have special skills or knowledge in a certain field that is related to the company's secret products or processes. Even though these workers are not top executives, they are very important to the success of the organisation.

Highlights of L1B Visa:

  • Duration of L1B visa: L1B visa holders are typically granted a maximum initial period of one year, with the possibility of extensions. This allows for a total stay of up to five years in the United States.
  • Green Card Eligibility: Unlike the L1A visa, L1B visa holders must go through the labour certification process to apply for a green card. This process can be time-consuming and is subject to factors such as quotas and the applicant's country of origin. If you are immigrating to the USA for a green card check eligibility here.
  • Petition: Unlike the L1A visa, which can benefit from a blanket petition, each L1B worker must have an individual petition filed on their behalf.
  • Education Requirement: One significant advantage for L1B visa holders is that they are not required to hold degrees equivalent to the four-year U.S. degree. This flexibility benefits those who have developed expertise in their field but may lack the academic credentials typically required by U.S. universities.
  • Additional Considerations
  • Period Calculation for Visa Switching
  • It's crucial to note that the time spent in the U.S. under the H or L category is taken into consideration when an individual wishes to switch from an L visa to an H visa or vice versa. For example, a person cannot enter the U.S. on an L1A visa, stay for seven years, and then switch to an H1B visa and stay for an additional six years.

The L1 visa programme is a useful tool for multinational companies that want to bring skilled workers to the U.S. The L1 visa is a good choice for both employers and employees because it is flexible, doesn't have annual limits, and lets people apply for certain types of green cards. Understanding the details of the L1 visa, its subcategories, and the benefits of each is important for anyone thinking about using this path to work abroad.

The H1B Visa: Unlocking Opportunities for Skilled Workers in the U.S.

The H1B USA work visa is a well-known and highly sought-after option for foreign professionals who want to work in the United States.

This type of nonimmigrant visa is meant to make it easier for U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers in specialised fields.

In this article, we'll go over the details of the H1B visa, including who can get it, how many can get it, how long it lasts, its benefits, and what makes it different from other types of visas.

What is H1B Visa?

The H1B visa program is a crucial pathway for U.S. employers seeking to hire foreign workers with specialised skills or expertise in specific fields. Here are the key aspects of the H1B visa:

1. H1B Visa Qualification Requirements

Foreign workers who have specialised knowledge or skills that are needed for a certain job role can get an H1B visa. Most of the time, these fields include science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM), healthcare, finance, and other related fields. Employers must show that the H1B visa holder's specialised skills are needed for the job they are offering.

2. Numerical Limitations of H1B Visa

The H1B visa programme is unique in that it has a limit on the number of visas that can be issued each year. As of the time this was written, each fiscal year can only have a total of 65,000 H1B visas. Also, another 20,000 visas are set aside for people who have a master's degree or higher from a U.S. school. With this system, H1B visas will be given out based on how many people want them and how many are available.

3. Duration of H1B Visa

People with an H1B visa can usually work in the United States for up to six years. Most approvals are good for three years at first, but they can be extended for another three years. This six-year limit includes all time spent in the U.S. under H1B status, no matter who the employer was.

4. Extensions and Green Card Pursuit

In some cases, an H1B visa holder can ask for a one-year extension on top of the six-year limit. This is possible if their employer has filed a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition on their behalf and 365 days have passed since the H1B petition was approved or the labour certification application was filed. With this extension, H1B workers can keep working in the U.S. while their application for a green card is being processed.

(Read More: Here are some of the fastest ways to get a Green Card)

5. Dual Intent

Like the L1 visa, one of the best things about the H1B visa is that it lets you have more than one goal. This means that people with an H1B visa can apply for legal permanent residency (a green card) while staying in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa. People who want to stay in the U.S. for a long time will benefit from this flexibility.

6. Transition from L1 to H1B

The process is possible for people who come to the U.S. on an L1 visa but later want to switch to an H1B visa. The length of time the H1B visa is good for will depend on the applicant's country of origin, since the U.S. has different agreements with different countries about visa validity.

7. Transferability

The H1B visa is interesting because it can be given to someone else. H1B visa holders can change jobs even though they are still in the U.S. This flexibility is especially helpful in today's job market, which is always changing. It lets skilled professionals look for new opportunities without the restrictions that often come with other visa types.

8. Financial Freedom

In the United States, people with an H1B visa have some freedom with their money. They are allowed to buy, sell, and invest in stocks, which gives them a chance to build up their wealth while working in the country.

The H1B visa immigration process is a key part of bringing and keeping skilled foreign workers in the United States. Its unique features, such as the annual cap, dual intent, transferability, and financial flexibility, make it a good choice for both employers looking for specialised talent and workers who want to build successful careers in the U.S. People who want to work in the United States and are thinking about getting an H1B visa need to know how complicated it is.

Differences between L1 and H1 Visa

S.No. Name of the University QS World system Rank


L1 Visa

H1B Visa

Green Card Eligibility

Under EB1C, people with an L1 visa can apply for a green card. People with an L1A visa can get a green card in less than a year without a labour certification, but people with an L1B visa usually need a labour certification.

H1B visa holders must go through the labour certification process for green card application, which can be time-consuming.

Petition Process

L1 visa offers a blanket petition option, making it more convenient, especially for large companies with certain criteria.

Each H1B worker must have an individual petition, increasing paperwork for employers.

Maximum Duration

L1A visa holders can stay up to 7 years, while L1B holders have a maximum of 5 years.

H1B visa allows a maximum stay of 6 years, with potential extensions in specific cases.

Prevailing Wage

L1 visa does not specify wage requirements, potentially leading to concerns about lower wages.

People with an H1B visa are legally allowed to get the actual or prevailing wages set by the State Employment Security Agency. This makes sure that everyone is paid fairly.

Employer Eligibility

L1 visa can be filed by a subsidiary or branch of a foreign company, requiring 1 year of work by the employee (executive/specialised knowledge/manager).

H1B visa allows any U.S.-based employer to hire foreign workers, providing broader employment opportunities.

Education Requirement

L1 visa does not necessitate a degree, making it suitable for those without traditional higher education.

H1B visa requires workers to have at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent, ensuring a certain level of educational qualification.

Spouse Employment

L2 visa holders (spouses of L1 visa holders) can acquire Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), enabling them to seek employment.

H4 visa holders (spouses of H1B visa holders) generally cannot obtain EAD for employment, restricting their job opportunities through USA Dependent Visas.

Visa Cap

L1 visas have no annual cap, granting flexibility in the number of visas issued.

H1B visas have an annual cap; once filled, applicants must wait for the next fiscal year, with a current cap of 65,000 (except for specific exceptions).

Payroll Location

Workers on L1 visa can be on the payroll of either a foreign or U.S.-based company, offering flexibility.

H1B visa holders must be on the payroll of a U.S.-based company, limiting employment options.

Dept of Labor Approval

No labor application is required for L1 visa, simplifying the process for employers.

H1B visa mandates approval from the Department of Labor, confirming the unavailability of qualified U.S. workers for the position.


In conclusion, the L1 and H1B visas are two different ways for professionals from other countries to work in the United States. Each has its own set of pros and cons. The choice between these visas depends on many things, such as the type of job, the needs of the employer, and the qualifications of the applicant. Understanding the main differences between L1 and H1B visas, like who can get a green card, how to file a petition, how long you can stay, how much you have to make, and more, is important for both individuals and employers who want to work in the U.S. It is a good idea to talk to immigration experts or lawyers for personalised advice based on your personal situation and career goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can people with an L1 visa apply for a green card? If so, how does that work?

A1: Yes, people with an L1 visa can apply for an EB1C green card. People with an L1A visa can do this without a labour certification, which means they could get their green card in less than a year. But most people with an L1B visa have to go through the labour certification process, which can take more time.

Q2: Is there a limit on how many L1 visas can be given out each year?

A2: No, there is no limit on how many L1 visas can be given out each year. This makes it easy for multinational companies to move employees to the U.S.

Q3: How long can people with an H1B visa stay for the most?

A3: Most people with an H1B visa can stay in the U.S. for no more than six years. The first approval is usually good for three years, but it could be extended for another three years.

Q4: Do H1B visa holders have to make a certain amount of money?

A4: Yes, people with an H1B visa must be paid the higher of their actual wage or the prevailing wage. The State Employment Security Agency figures out the prevailing wage based on the specifics of the job.

Q5: Can the spouses of people with L1 and H1B visas work in the United States?

A5: L2 visa holders who are married to L1 visa holders can get Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) so they can look for work. But most H4 visa holders who are married to H1B visa holders can't get an EAD to work.

Frequently Asked Questions

The common notion is that foreign universities are expensive, although with scholarships this is an exaggerated issue. What many fail to consider are time and effort. Studying in an Indian college leads to a lower average salary than earned by our western counterparts. This salary sets the tone for all future promotions since companies often look at your previous salaries during compensation appraisals. Additionally, most senior positions tend to be scooped up by individuals who have an international outlook through global exposure.  Finally, studying in a foreign country is an incredible learning experience helping students get a better academic as well as soft skill development.

Canada has been one of the market leaders in education for decades. However, what currently sets Maple Country apart is immigration. Canada is wholeheartedly inviting students to study in their universities to fill job vacancies that are always growing in the country. Students who study in Canada (especially a Master’s Degree) are practically assured of a Permanent Residency Visa.

A good score doesn’t automatically qualify a candidate for a scholarship, however, it is one of the primary factors that the admissions department looks for in a scholarship application. There are other attributes such as a candidate’s academics, extra-curricular, financial background, and application essays (SOPs).

We get this question a lot. Many candidates know which career path they want to take, but are at a loss for how to take that journey. Understanding the job role and the industry that you want to get into is the first step to picking the right university.

Carefully consider the immigration options of the country that the university that you are considering is in. This is more important when you intend to stay back in the country after the completion of your course.

Also, review the placement history of the university as well.

The first step is to list your preferences. By listing your preferences and strengths, describe your course of preference. Extensive research on the modules, software and its length for your preferred subject is necessary.


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