Differences Between L1 Visa and H-1B Visa


These two visas are work visas in the United States which many people would love to have. They are similar in several ways like a dual intent benefit. This notwithstanding, L1 and H1B visas have significant differences.

The L1 visas

This type of visa is referred to as Intra-Company Transferee. The US Congress mandated it in the year 1970 and it is non-immigrant. The aim of L1 visa is to allow employees of large multinationals who have businesses in various countries to be moved temporarily to the US. The visas are classified according to the types of workers transferred. L1A visas are for managers and executives, while L1B Visas are for those workers who have specialized knowledge.

Workers who are not top executives but have specialized in any field of knowledge use the L1B Visas. In the case of specialized knowledge, employees do not need to own a degree which can be compared with the US degree so as to be qualified for L1 Visa, which is meant for people with experience but without educational qualifications. A significant advantage of L1 Visa is the absence of the cap on L1s that need yearly approval.

The specialized worker is given a time frame of 5 years while the L1A user has a time frame of 7 years. If somebody wants to change his visa status from L to H or vice versa, he time-consuming a time frame which will be taken note of. For example, if a person in the US has been using L1A Visa for about seven years and then switches to the H1 category, he cannot stay there for 6 years.


The H1B Visa allows US employees from other countries the opportunity to work in the country. It is a multiple entry non-immigrant visa. Employees who are transferred with this kind of visa must be involved in specialized jobs. The annual general quota is 65,000. Moreover, individuals who have a master’s degree have an extra quota of 20,000. People with this kind of visa can only work in the US for a maximum of 6 years. 3 years approval can be given with an extension of 3 extra years.

After the sixth year, an extension of one year can be obtained if an H1B Visa holder applies I-140 365 days before his visa expires. H1B visa takes more time and has more strict requirements than the L1 visa, which is more appropriate for multinationals. Both visas have a dual purpose which is that holders can apply for the green card even while staying as the nonimmigrant in the US. The nationality of an applicant is the key factor in determining the validity range of the visa. The H1B Visa is transferrable. Holders are free to partake in the stock exchange and sell or buy properties in the US.

How L1 Visa is different from H1 Visa

The table below describes the differences between the L1 and the H1 Visas

Academic PrerequisiteHolders must not necessarily own a degreeholders must either have a bachelors degree or an equivalent degree
Marital statusHolders can get jobs by acquiring the employment authorization documents (EAD).Employment authorization documents are not issued to H4 visa holders.
PayrollHolders can be on a payroll of the US or a foreign based company.Holders can only be on a US based company payroll
Time intervalThe maximum time interval for L1A visa holders is seven years and for L1B holders is five years without any adjustments.Duration for H1 Visa holders is six years with allowance for adjustments.
Prevailing payIt does not have any get requirement. Little pays may cause controversies.Holders should receive their actual pay or the prevailing pay: choosing  with respect to the higher option
Approval from the department of laborEmployers do not have to submit a labor request specifying the lack of a competent domestic pool to satisfy the requirements for a position. An l1 visa holder cannot be replaced by a US workerThe department of labor has to give their approval. The US employer has to  confirm that qualified US workers are not available for any position
CapsCaps are not issued for visas which can be issued out annually.Caps are issued out annually. In the case where the cap is exhausted for the year, an appeal should be filed on the 1st of April the following year. The current cap is 65,000. (6,800 for Chile and Singapore).
Green cardHolders can get a green card through the EBIC category and not have to use the labor certification process as it can be very expensive and time consuming. It is possible for L1 visa holders to obtain a green card within one year. However, factors like national quota can cause L1B visa holders to spent years trying to obtain a card. It is mandatory for employers to obtain authorization for a green card from PERM labor certification
PetitionLarge companies benefit from blanket petitions which are accessible by holders.

For an employer to get a blanket petition, he must meet the following requirements;

  • Have 1000 workers in the US
  • Gotten approval of 10L1 Visas in one year
  • The United States subsidiaries making 25million US Dollars
It is mandatory for holders to have individual petitions
EmployerIf a worker (manager, executive, skilled) has worked in a foreign company for a year, a branch of this company can file for an L1 Visa.Here, a US employer is allowed to employ  a worker from a foreign country