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L-1A vs H-1B Visas

These days, there are many questions about the differences in visas available for immigrants. Understanding those differences can get confusing and frankly, overwhelming. For instance, what is the difference between L-1A and H-1B visas? If you are not sure, you are not alone. Let’s review what visa class may be right for you, as well as how a skilled Columbus immigration attorney might be able to help you navigate this process.

How Are H-1B and L-1A Similar?

First, let’s go over the similarities because they’re important. Both visas are good for employers looking to recruit employees from oversees. This might happen when a specific type of computer engineering degree is needed to do the job, for example. It’s the L-1 visa that tends to be a better fit for multinational enterprises and those who may fall short in meeting the strict mandatory guidelines associated with the H-1B requirements.

The L-1A Visa

Also known as an intra-company transferee visa, these documents are used to gain entry into the U.S. for those who have been hired by a company that needs a high degree of competency, who possesses a specialized knowledge in an area that others are not familiar with, and who may be employed by multinational companies. They’re not at all uncommon, especially in large global companies.

The L-1A visa is for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions in a company that is located outside the United States.

The H-1B Visa

This visa also allows foreign workers to come to the U.S. to do a job within a company. But whereas the L-1A visa requires managerial or executive skills, the H-1B visa individual must possess knowledge in a theoretical or technical capacity and in a specialty occupation field. This knowledge could be in the field of engineering, science, medicine, architecture, or other specialized areas.

Usually, evidence of a specialized degree that addresses a specific issue is required as part of the application process. This can be in the form of testimony from an employer or other expert in the field or via resources that are objective and that show a definite association between what expertise the worker possesses and how it will be used by the U.S. company seeking to bring that worker to the U.S.

H-1B Limitations

Keep in mind, there are a few differences when it comes to the requirements. The H-1B applicant must have a specific and specialized knowledge in the field and possess at minimum a bachelor’s degree. This gets to the eligibility considerations. There are times when that might be bypassed, such as when the work to be performed is so new, that there are no classes that have been developed to teach this specialty in the U.S. For example, a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy isn’t going to lead to becoming qualified for an H-1B visa to work in the U.S. as a respiratory therapist.

This is just a high-level review, so please refer to the USCIS website which provides an extensive review of the H-1B visa.

Sam Shihab & Associates Can Help

This temporary work visa process can be a bit time consuming and expensive. There are no guarantees for entry nor are there any guarantees that these temporary visas might lend to permanent citizenship. Typically, employer should have an immigration attorney on retainer who will help facilitate the application process.

If you are an immigrant with any questions or concerns regarding your status, visa, green card application, or any other legal matter, speak at once to an experienced Columbus immigration attorney. A good immigration lawyer can help you and your family with any immigration issue you face and defend you if you’re accused of violating immigration law.

Our immigration attorneys will review your forms and applications for thoroughness and accuracy. Immigration laws will continually change, but an experienced immigration attorney will always be able to give you the most up-to-date legal advice you need.

We have offices in Dublin and Columbus, Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. But our full suite of immigration law services is available to clients nationwide and even around the world.

Contact us today!

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