L-1 Visas Conversion to Green Cards

In 1970, the US Congress created the L-1 visa to encourage foreign investment in the US by multinational companies. The purpose was to allow these companies to bring the employees they need into the US to help them run their business in the global marketplace. The L1 visa Houston TX petitions are submitted by the companies, not the employees, and are granted based on the employee’s specialized, managerial or executive skills for a specified time period. However, these visas may be converted into green cards.

Green Card Requirements

L-1 visa holders must be able to prove that they have returned to their countries within or at the end of their visa period unless they seek a green card.

Employees must have worked for a full, consecutive year in one of the company’s foreign offices within the prior three years in a specialized role. The US and foreign offices’ relationship must be qualifying, and the US office must be expected to continue its operations for at least one year. Both will play a role during the green card application. Criminal records may disqualify applicants.

Application Process

Once your visa is approved, you can file both the I-140 and I-185 forms to change your status. Then, you will follow the employment-based green card process and a labor certification program. After you file your forms, you will receive a notice of action. Next, you must submit your biometrics, such as fingerprints and photos, and authorize a criminal background check. You may also be subject to a 30-minute interview.


Although you may receive your work permit within 16 weeks, your green card status change may take 1 year or longer. You must remain employed during this time.

Although the process is complex and takes a lot of time, green card holders are offered permanent residency and can eventually apply for citizenship.

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