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Ask Sophie: What are the options for replacing an L-1A visa?

Ask Sophie: What are the options for replacing an L-1A visa?


Sophie Alcorn, attorney, author and founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley, California, is an award-winning Certified Specialist Attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Sophie is passionate about transcending borders, expanding opportunity, and connecting the world by practicing compassionate, visionary, and expert immigration law. Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Dear Sophie,

One of our essential executives has been living and working in the U.S. on an L-1A visa for the past two years. In January, the company sponsored him for an EB-1C green card. 

Given that the EB-1 category is still not current for India, which is where he was born, we’re worried that his L-1A visa will run out before he receives his green card. 

What do you suggest?

— Principled Planner 

Dear Principled,

Thanks for reaching out! I’ve got you covered. Many employers like you who are sponsoring international talent for employment-based green cards to retain them in the United States are hitting obstacles due to outdated numerical caps and unfair country-of-birth limits.

It’s time for Congress to raise the numerical caps and eliminate the country-of-birth caps!

Congress needs to act!

By 2030, an estimated 1.7 million India-born individuals will be waiting for an EB-1 (EB-1A, EB-1B, EB-1C), EB-2 (both EB-2 and EB-2 NIW), or EB-3 category green card, according to a 2020 report by the Congressional Research Service.

As of June 2023, the latest data available, 10,059 individuals who were born in India have had their EB-1 I-140 green card petition approved but are just waiting for a green card number to become available, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). At least 47,190 employment-based green cards have been allocated to the EB-1 category.

Given the 7% country cap, only 3,303 EB-1 green cards will be available to individuals who were born in India unless EB-4 and EB-5 green card numbers (about 11,715 green cards are available in each EB-4 and EB-5 category) that are not used are moved to the EB-1 green card category.

Since a cutoff date exists for all countries in the EB-4 category, unused numbers in that category are unlikely. However, there are potentially about 10,000 EB-5 green card numbers that could move to the EB-1 category, and those would be made available to the individuals with the earliest priority dates, which tend to be those born in India.

Now, let me dive into your question.

Maximum stay on an L-1A is seven years





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