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From L1 to H1B: Visa Conversion

By Nita Nicole Upadhye

Table of Contents

Converting from an L1 visa to an H1B visa involves changing immigration status and visa category. This process allows individuals who initially entered the United States on an intra-company transferee visa (L1) to change their status to an H1B visa designated for individuals in specialty occupations.

Like the L-1 visa, the H-1B permits skilled non-US citizens to work in the US and may afford more advantages over the L-1 status.

There is no formal conversion process to go from the L1 to H1B visa; it is instead referred to as a Change of Status, requiring the individual to make an entirely new H-1B application and follow the H1B visa application process, which can be uncertain due to the H1B visa cap.

As specialist US immigration attorneys, NNU Immigration provides expert support to L1 visa holders to help them understand the immigration options open to them and the specific requirements that must be met when making an application. We are experts in US visa application protocols, including L1 to H1B conversions, helping ensure a smoother transition between visa classifications and avoiding potential complications such as unwanted employment or lawful status gaps.

In this comprehensive guide to changing from L1 to H1B status, we detail the key considerations when deciding if this is your correct route. We set out the procedural and eligibility requirements to help you approach the H1B application confidently and strategically.


Section A: Why Convert from L1 to H1B?


There are several reasons why an individual with an L1 visa might be considering applying for an H1B visa. These reasons can be due to circumstances necessitating a change of status from an L-1 to an H-1B visa, or there may be strategic considerations depending on the individual’s career goals, current employer’s circumstances, or broader personal reasons.


1. Broader Job Opportunities


a. Employer Flexibility
The L1 visa is tied to the employer who transferred the employee from a foreign office to the US. This means the visa is not transferrable, and the individual cannot easily change employers. The H1B visa, however, allows for more flexibility since it is not limited to intra-company transfers. H1B holders can change employers as long as the new employer also sponsors an H1B visa, which is facilitated through a process known as the H1B transfer.

L-1 visa holders must remain employed in the role and for the employer as granted in their L-1 application. They are not permitted to apply for another job with another employer under their existing L-1 status. With H-1B status, however, they can change employers, provided they qualify to sponsor you. It is possible for an L-1 to H-1B change of status to be applied for under the same employer but in a different role or where you have found qualifying employment with another organization.


b. Specialty Occupation Scope
The H1B visa covers more occupations and industries than the L1, focusing on internal company transfers for managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge roles. This makes the H1B attractive to individuals wanting to explore opportunities in other fields or industries not covered under their current L1 status.


2. Path to Permanent Residency


a. Green Card Opportunities
Although L1 and H1B visas can potentially lead to permanent residency (Green Card), the path can be more straightforward for H1B holders, especially those with advanced degrees from US institutions. For instance, H1B holders may access more varied employment-based green card categories beyond the multinational manager/executive category (EB-1C) that most L1A holders rely on.


b. Adjustment of Status
H1B holders can apply for a Green Card by adjusting the status process while staying in the US, which can be an attractive option for many.


3. Employment Rights for Spouses

Spouses of L1 visa holders (L2 visa holders) are generally permitted to work in the US. However, the work authorization for spouses of H1B visa holders (H4 visa holders) has been subject to changing regulations and political climates. An H1B visa might provide more certainty and long-term security for spouses seeking work authorization, especially as policies evolve.


4. Long-Term Strategic Career Moves


a. Career Development
Moving to an H1B visa might align better with long-term professional goals, particularly for those who wish to gain diverse experience across different companies or industries. The flexibility of the H1B visa allows for greater mobility within the US labor market, which can be crucial for career advancement.


b. Company Strategy
Sometimes, the company’s strategic direction may influence the decision. For example, if a company’s US operations are winding down or restructuring, an employee on an L1 visa might find it prudent to switch to an H1B visa sponsored by a different company to maintain their legal status in the US.


5. Regulatory and Policy Considerations


Immigration policies can affect visa stability and prospects. The H1B visa program, despite its cap and lottery system, often offers a more predictable annual application opportunity compared to the specific and sometimes limited scope of L1 transfers.


Section B: Concerns when Converting from L1 to H1B


1. Limited Availability of H1B visas


The most fundamental issue is that the H-1B visa is subject to an annual cap, which is substantially oversubscribed yearly. This means a limited number of H-1B visas are available each year, and there is no guarantee that your H-1B application will be granted, even if you have found qualifying employment. L-1 visas, however, are not subject to quotas.


2. Maximum Period of Stay


Another critical concern for L-1 visa holders looking to transfer to the H-1B is that the H-1B 6-year maximum period will include any time they have already spent in the US under the L-1 visa. For example, if you have already been in the US for two years on the L-1 visa, this leaves four years for the H-1B (including the 3-year extension). In these instances, consider looking at Green Card options sooner to secure your leave to remain.


3. Maintaining Valid Status


You must ensure you retain a valid immigration status. Suppose you are successful in changing your status application. In that case, you must remain employed by—i.e. on the payroll of—your L-1 sponsor up to the commencement of your new visa to avoid becoming ‘out of status’, as in these circumstances, there is no available grace period.

You should only quit your current role once you have approved the change of status and agree with your L-1 employer on the termination date of your contract.

If you do fall out of status, your status change may be denied, and you will likely face problems with any subsequent USCIS applications.


Section C: Understanding L1 and H1B Visas


The L1 and H1B visas serve distinct purposes but often come into play for the same type of highly skilled and highly knowledgeable professionals.

Understanding the nuances between these visas is crucial, especially for those considering converting from L1 to H1B status.


1. What is the L1 Visa, and who is it for?


The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category designed to facilitate the transfer of key employees from a foreign corporation to a related US entity. This visa is aimed at executives, managers, or specialized knowledge staff employed by the corporation outside the US for at least one continuous year within the preceding three years.

The primary purpose of the L1 visa is to promote international business and operational continuity by allowing companies with a presence in the US to bring in necessary expertise from their overseas locations.


2. What is the H1B Visa, and who is it for?


The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables US employers to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations. These occupations require theoretical or practical application of highly specialized knowledge, including but not limited to science, engineering, and information technology.

To qualify for an H1B visa, the applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specific speciality related to the occupation.

The H1B is pivotal for industries facing talent shortages in the US and allows employers to fill these gaps with qualified foreign professionals.


3. Key Differences Between L1 and H1B Visas


a. Purpose and Flexibility
The L1 visa is strictly for internal company transfers, allowing multinational companies to manage and utilize talent efficiently across borders. The H1B visa, however, is more flexible because it is not limited to transfers within the same company and can be applied to any qualifying specialty occupation job offered by any US employer.


b. Educational Requirements
L1 visas do not necessarily require a specific educational background as long as the employee has the requisite managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge experience. In contrast, the H1B visa specifically requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a field related to the job.


c. Duration of Stay
The maximum duration of stay typically differs; L1A visas (for executives and managers) can be extended up to seven years, and L1B visas (for specialized knowledge personnel) up to five years. H1B visa holders can stay for up to six years and may be eligible for further extensions if certain conditions related to permanent residency applications are met.


d. Path to Permanent Residency
L1 visa holders may have a potentially smoother path to permanent residency (Green Card) under certain conditions, especially for L1A visa holders, as they can apply under the EB-1C category, which is generally less backlogged than the categories available to H1B holders.


e. Dependent Work Rights
Spouses of L1 visa holders (L2 visa holders) are eligible to work in the US without restriction. In contrast, spouses of H1B visa holders (H4 visa holders) have more limited opportunities to work, dependent on specific conditions being met related to the H1B holder’s path to residency.


Section C: L1 to H1B Conversion Process


1. What is the L1 to H1B Conversion Process?


There is no separate or distinct conversion process from the L1 to the H1B visa – you will effectively apply for the H1B visa as a new classification through what is officially known as a Change of Status (CoS).

You can apply for a status change from L-1 to H1B within the US without returning to your home country.

A key benefit of changing status from within the US is that your application may not be subject to consular processing if the petition is approved.

As with all US visa applications, changing from an L1 to an H1B visa requires careful planning and timely execution. Employers and employees must work together to ensure all requirements are met, and the application is complete and accurate to avoid delays or denials.


2. Eligibility Criteria for H1B Visa


To qualify for an H1B visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:


a. Specialty Occupation

The job must qualify as a specialty occupation, which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. Typically, this includes engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, computer sciences, medicine, health care, education, biotechnology, and business specialties such as management and human resources.


b. Educational Requirements

The applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a field relevant to the specialty occupation. The degree obtained outside the US must be evaluated to ensure it is equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree.


c. Employer-employee Relationship

A valid employer-employee relationship with the US employer sponsoring the H1B visa must exist. This means the employer can hire, pay, fire, supervise, and otherwise control the employee’s work.


d. Labor Condition Application (LCA)

The employer must obtain an approved LCA from the US Department of Labor that certifies that the employer will pay the beneficiary a wage which is no less than the wage paid to similarly qualified workers or, if greater, the prevailing wage for your position in the geographic area in which you will be working.


e. Cap Limit

The H1B visa has an annual numerical limit “cap” of 85,000 new visas each fiscal year, including 65,000 visas for overseas applicants under the general category and 20,000 visas for those who have earned a US master’s degree or higher.


f. Employer Requirements

The employer must provide a valid job offer in a specialty occupation and certify a Labor Condition Application (LCA) that attests to wage and labor conditions compliance.

The employer also needs to provide documentation proving the legitimacy of the business, such as tax returns, financial statements, and proof of business operations.


2. Legal Prerequisites for Converting from L1 to H1B


The process of converting from an L1 visa to an H1B involves several legal steps and considerations:


a.  Find an H1B Sponsor
To apply for an H1B visa, you must first find a US employer willing to sponsor you. Unlike the L1 visa, the H1B visa requires a specific job offer from a US employer willing to sponsor it.


b. New H1B Petition
Your employer must file a new H1B visa petition with USCIS on your behalf. This is necessary because the L1 and H1B visas are fundamentally different, and the qualifications and conditions of each visa type must be separately met and approved.


c. Change of Status Application
Along with the H1B petition, your employer must file a change of status application if you are already in the US under an L1 visa. This form, I-129, must be approved before you can start working under H1B visa status.


d. Maintain Legal Status
You must maintain your L1 visa status until your H1B visa is approved. This involves adhering to all the conditions of your L1 visa and ensuring you do not stay beyond the period specified without a pending or approved H1B application.


e. Possible Visa Stamping
Suppose you are outside the US or decide to travel internationally while your H1B petition is pending. In that case, you must obtain an H1B visa stamp at a US Embassy or Consulate before re-entering the US under H1B status.



2. Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for an H1B


Converting status from an L1 to an H1B visa involves a series of procedural stages, compliance with employer requirements, and submission of necessary legal documentation, all within specific timelines.


Step 1: Assess Eligibility and Find a Sponsor

The first step is to find a US employer willing to sponsor you for an H1B visa. This can be your current employer if they have a suitable position or a new employer.


Step 2: Meet the Timings

If your application is subject to the annual H1B cap, your petition must be submitted for the H1B lottery registration process, typically held in March each year. The USCIS randomly selects the petitions that will be processed.

There is no flexibility with the timings of the cap-subject H-1B application process.

Electronic registrations that are successful in the lottery must be filed by the stated deadline, generally June 30.

Your application and any successful status change and new employment must fall within these timeframes.


Step 3: Labor Condition Application (LCA)

Your sponsoring employer must file a Labor Condition Application LCA/ ETA Form 9035E/ 9035) with the US Department of Labor. This application ensures that employing you will not adversely affect the wages or working conditions of similarly employed American workers.


Step 4: Prepare the H1B Visa Petition

Your employer must complete and submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to USCIS. This form should accompany the approved LCA, your current immigration status documents, and proof of your qualifications.

This will also include an employment letter detailing the duties and responsibilities of your role, dates of employment and details of the wage to be paid, among other key information.


Step 5: Submit the Petition

Submit the H1B visa petition packet to the correct USCIS service center. The packet should include the filing fee, Form I-129, the approved LCA, and all required supporting documents.


Step 6: USCIS Processing

Once submitted, you must wait for USCIS to process your application. Respond promptly to any requests for further evidence (RFE).

Change of Status or Visa Stamping

• If you are already in the U.S., you may need to apply for a status change to activate your H1B visa.
• If you are outside the U.S. or prefer, you can also get your visa stamped at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.


Step 7: Consular Processing (if outside the US)

The transition from an L1 to an H1B visa does not necessarily require consular processing; it depends on the individual’s situation and choices.


a. Change of Status (COS) in the United States
This process allows you to change your nonimmigrant status from L1 to H1B while remaining in the U.S. without leaving the country for visa stamping.


b. Consular Processing
Alternatively, you or your employer may opt for consular processing. This is necessary if you wish to enter the U.S. on an H1B visa from abroad or if a change of status is not feasible or preferable.

Consular processing requires you to leave the U.S. and apply for the H1B visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country or country of residence.

You will also need to schedule and attend a visa interview. If approved, your passport will be stamped with an H1B visa, allowing you to enter the U.S. under H1B status.


Step 8: H1B Visa Granted


If you are granted petition approval for the H-1B program and Change of Status, the Department of Labor will return a certified copy to your new employer. All the necessary documents (including Form I-129, experience and employment agreements) should be sent to the appropriate USCIS service center.

If you are in the US and your H1B visa petition is approved, including a request for a change of status from L1 to H1B, USCIS will update your I-94 record as proof of your legal status in the US under the H1B classification.

If you are outside the US, you must have your visa stamped at a US consulate or embassy in your home country with the approved H1B petition.


Step 9: H1B Application Denied


If your application is denied, you can continue working in the US. At the same time, your L-1 status remains valid, provided you continue to meet the terms of your L-1 visa, i.e., you are carrying out the same role for the same employer.

While your L-1 visa remains valid, you can apply again at subsequent H-1B windows or consider alternative visa options.


4. Legal Documentation Needed


Extensive documentation will be required to support the H1B visa application. The specific information will depend on your circumstances and eligibility, which NNU Immigration are experienced in advising on.

As a minimum, the following documents will be needed:


a. Petition Forms: Completed Form I-129.

b. Educational and Professional Documents: Copies of your resume, letters of reference, relevant degrees, and transcripts.

c. Proof of Current L1 Status: Copy of your current visa, I-94 card, and L1 petition approval notice.

d. Approved LCA: From the Department of Labor.


5. Processing Timings


The H1B cap-subject petitions are typically filed between April and June, following the registration period in March.

Regular processing can take 1 to 6 months, while premium processing (if available) can shorten this to about 15 calendar days.

If selected in the lottery, the earliest start date for H1B visa employment is October 1st of the same year.


Section D: Challenges and Tips for H1B to L1 Conversion


Transitioning from an L1 to an H1B visa presents several challenges and legal considerations. Effectively addressing these can significantly influence the success of the conversion process.


1. Common Obstacles and How to Navigate Them


a. Cap Limit and Lottery System

The H1B visa has an annual cap of 85,000 visas, which includes 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 for those with a US master’s degree or higher. Due to high demand, not all applicants are selected in the lottery.

Planning is key. Ensure your application packet is thorough and submitted on time. Consider the timing of your application to align with the filing period in April. If you’re not selected, plan for the next year or explore other visa options, such as O-1 visas for individuals with extraordinary abilities.


b. Strict Adherence to Visa Requirements
Both L1 and H1B visas have specific requirements that must be meticulously met. Any discrepancies in eligibility or documentation can lead to application denial.

Double-check all documents for accuracy and completeness. Before submission, engage an immigration attorney to review your petition and ensure you meet all the criteria.


c. Employment Gaps
Transitioning between visas could lead to employment gaps, especially if your H1B visa application is pending and your L1 visa expires.

Plan the transition meticulously to minimize gaps. Consider applying for a visa extension or a bridging visa if necessary. Utilize premium processing if available to reduce waiting times.


d. Changing Employers
Suppose you switch from your L1 employer to a new employer for H1B sponsorship. This can complicate the transition because you must establish a new employer-employee relationship and job eligibility under H1B regulations.

Ensure your new job qualifies as a specialty occupation and that your new employer completes all required legal steps, including the Labor Condition Application.


2. Legal Considerations and Compliance Issues


Navigating these challenges requires careful planning, adherence to legal requirements, and, often, professional guidance. Understanding and preparing for these obstacles can improve your chances of a successful L1 to H1B visa conversion.


a. Labor Condition Application (LCA) Compliance
Employers must comply with the conditions outlined in the LCA, including paying the prevailing wage, proving that hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the conditions of US workers, and notifying existing employees of the H1B hiring.

Maintain thorough records and ensure that all LCA commitments are met. Employers should be prepared for potential Department of Labor audits.


b. Visa Fraud and Misrepresentation
Accurate representation of qualifications, employment details, and personal information is mandatory. Misrepresentation or fraud can result in visa denial and future immigration bans.

Provide truthful and complete information in all documentation. Seek legal advice to ensure all parts of your application comply with immigration laws.


c. Regulatory Changes
Immigration laws and policies are subject to change. New regulations or executive orders can affect H1B visa procedures and eligibility.

Stay informed about the latest immigration policies and adapt your application strategy accordingly. Regular consultation with an immigration expert can provide foresight and planning assistance.


3. Tips for the L1 to H1B Conversion Process


Improving the success rate of the visa conversion process from L1 to H1B requires careful planning, detailed knowledge of immigration laws, and strategic execution.

Enhance your prospects in the visa conversion process by following these tips:


a. Early Planning
Start the transition process well before your L1 visa is close to expiration to mitigate any risks of status gaps.


b. Understand the Cap Exemptions
Not all H1B applications are subject to the annual cap; positions in higher education, non-profit, or government research organizations can bypass the cap, which might ease the transition.


c. Legal Compliance
Ensure that both you and your employer comply with all the regulations associated with the H1B visa, including the Labor Condition Application (LCA) requirements.


d. Document Preparation
Ensure all your qualifications and the job requirements are thoroughly documented. This includes detailed job descriptions, proof of educational credentials, and professional certifications.


e. Legal Guidance
Working with NNU Immigration, you will benefit from specialist guidance and advice to help you navigate your conversion application more easily and confidently.


f. Quality of the Application
Errors in the application can lead to delays or denials. Ensure every detail in your application is correct and every document is in place.

Build a compelling case for why you qualify for the H1B visa. This includes aligning your skills, qualifications, and job duties to strongly fit the H1B visa criteria.


g. Backup Plans
Have alternative plans ready if your H1B application is delayed or not selected in the lottery. This might include extending your L1 visa, if possible, or exploring other visa categories like O-1 for individuals with extraordinary abilities.

NNU Immigration can advise you on the options that are available to you.


h. Employer Engagement and Support
Work closely with your employer throughout the process. Their support is crucial, especially for the LCA and in proving the necessity of a specialty occupation.

Encourage your employer to provide detailed and precise documentation about the job and its requirements, which is essential for proving that the position qualifies as a specialty occupation under H1B visa regulations.


i. Regular Updates
Immigration laws and policies can change frequently. Staying updated through your lawyer can help you adapt your application strategy accordingly.


j. Respond Quickly to USCIS Requests
Be prepared to respond quickly and thoroughly to any requests from USCIS, including RFEs, which are expected during the H1B application process.

Section E: Case Studies


The following anonymized case studies illustrate the issues with which we can provide support and expert guidance for L1 to H1B conversions.


Case Study 1: Technology Sector Transition


An IT manager from India, working for a multinational corporation in the US on an L1B visa, decided to transition to an H1B due to broader job opportunities in other tech companies.

The primary hurdles were the H1B visa cap and the lottery system. To proceed, the manager had to be selected in the lottery.

The manager was selected in the lottery. We then supported with careful preparation of the documentation proving the specialty occupation requirement, submitted on the first day of the acceptance period. The petition was approved, and the worker successfully transitioned to H1B status that year.

Lessons Learned
Through our H1B experience, we guided employers and employees through visa and petition documentation preparation to ensure a seamless application and transition process.


Case Study 2: Healthcare Professional Expansion


In a managerial role, a healthcare consultant on an L1A visa sought to change employers and move into a healthcare technology firm that required an H1B visa.

Establishing that the new role was a specialty occupation was difficult, as the job blended managerial responsibilities with specialized healthcare and tech knowledge.

We worked with the new employer to file a detailed Labor Condition Application and supported the visa application with extensive evidence of the job’s specialty nature. The petition was approved, and the subsequent transition was successful.

Lessons Learned
Clear, strong employer support and detailed proof of job duties are vital to proving a position qualifies as a specialty occupation under H1B regulations. Our immigration attorneys worked closely with all parties to manage the application process promptly and efficiently, easing the burden on the employer and employee.


Case Study 3: Academic Sector Adjustment


A research analyst from Germany, initially in the US on an L1B visa at a private research institute, wanted to move to a university-affiliated research center that offered an H1B visa.

After reviewing the matter, we identified potential employment gaps for the analyst, given the timing between visa approvals and job start dates.

The university applied for the H1B under the cap-exempt category due to its affiliation with higher education, which allowed for a quicker approval process without the need for the lottery. This seamless transition avoided any employment gap.

Lessons Learned
Exploring cap-exempt H1B opportunities (universities, non-profit research organizations) can provide a smoother and faster visa conversion process.


Section F: Summary


While the benefits of switching to an H1B visa can be substantial for some L1 workers – offering greater job flexibility, potential pathways to permanent residency, and broader employment opportunities across various industries – it may not be the best option for everyone. Taking advice can help you proceed with the most appropriate course of action.

Successfully navigating the transition from an L1 to an H1B visa requires meticulous preparation, a deep understanding of both visa categories, and proactive engagement in the application process.

Thorough preparation enhances the likelihood of a successful visa conversion and minimizes potential legal hurdles and employment gaps that can arise during the process.

Remember, the quality of your application and the strategic timing of your submissions can make a decisive difference in navigating the complexities of immigration procedures.

Employers also play a critical role in this process; their support and commitment to compliance are vital.

While the journey from L1 to H1B visa involves navigating through a labyrinth of legal requirements and administrative processes, the rewards of successfully managing this transition can open new horizons in your professional career in the United States.


Section G: Expert Advice Today


Converting from L1 to H1B can present a range of difficulties, given the more comprehensive and strict demands of the H1B application and eligibility requirements. However, you must ensure that you remain compliant with your existing L1 status.

Beyond eligibility, there are broader implications; for example, whereas L1 status does not require a minimum wage, H1B workers are taxed at the rate determined by the Labor Department.

The US immigration attorneys at NNU Immigration are specialists in the H1B visa scheme. We can help you assess the available immigration options to meet specific requirements and the demands of the USCIS application protocol, including for L1 to H1B conversions.

Our qualified and experienced US lawyers provide clear, precise advice tailored to your unique circumstances and help streamline the complex visa conversion process, helping avoid common pitfalls and ensuring that your application meets all the stringent requirements of USCIS. Contact us for expert advice.


Section H: Glossary


L1 Visa: A non-immigrant visa that allows companies to relocate foreign-qualified employees to its US subsidiary or parent company. There are two types of L1 visas: L1A for executives and managers and L1B for employees with specialized knowledge.

H1B Visa: This non-immigrant visa enables US employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. These roles require technical or theoretical expertise in specialized fields such as science, engineering, or computer programming.

Specialty Occupation: A job that requires applying specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the specific specialty. This is a key requirement for obtaining an H1B visa.

USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services): the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. USCIS is responsible for processing visa applications, including H1B and L1 visas.

Labor Condition Application (LCA): A document that a US employer must file with the Department of Labor before hiring an H1B employee. The LCA certifies that the employer will pay the visa holder a prevailing wage and that employing the foreign worker will not adversely affect the conditions of US workers similarly employed.

Visa Cap: The maximum number of visas that USCIS can issue annually. For H1B visas, the cap is set at 85,000 per fiscal year, which includes 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 for those with a US master’s degree or higher.

Visa Lottery: Due to the high demand and the cap on H1B visas, USCIS uses a random selection process or lottery to determine which applications will be processed when the number of applications exceeds the visa cap.

Form I-129: The form an employer uses to petition a foreign worker to come to the United States as a nonimmigrant to perform services or labor or to receive training.

RFE (Request for Evidence): A request issued by USCIS asking for additional documentation to decide on an H1B visa application.

Premium Processing: A service offered by USCIS that allows employers to pay an additional fee to expedite the processing of certain forms, typically resulting in a decision within 15 calendar days.

Change of Status: A procedure allowing individuals to change their nonimmigrant status while remaining in the US. For example, this applies when changing from an L1 visa to an H1B visa without leaving the country.

Visa Stamping: The process of obtaining a visa label in your passport at a US embassy or consulate abroad. This is necessary before entering the US with a new or changed visa status.


Section I: Helpful Links


Official Government Resources

USCIS L-1 Visa Information
Provides a comprehensive overview of L-1 visas, including eligibility requirements and the petition process.


USCIS H-1B Visa Information
Explains the H-1B visa category, eligibility criteria, and filing procedures.


Department of Labor (DOL) H-1B Labor Certification Information
Explains the H-1B labor certification process, a mandatory step for most H-1B applications.


Additional Resources


American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
AILA is a professional association for immigration lawyers. You can find an immigration attorney specializing in L-1 and H-1B visas through their directory.


U.S. Department of State Visa Reciprocity and Country Documents
This website provides visa fees, processing times, and other visa-related details for different countries.





Founder & Principal Attorney Nita Nicole Upadhye is a recognized leader in the field of US business immigration law (AILA) and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with both US and UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

Nita successfully acts for corporations and professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, actors, and athletes from across the globe, providing expert guidance on all aspects of US visa and nationality applications, and talent mobility to the USA.

Nita is an active public speaker, thought leader, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.​

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.

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For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.

For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.