L1 Visa Processing Time to GC

Posted on January 09, 2007 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

How Long Will It Take from L-1 Application to Green Card Approval?

In the previous article, we explained the kind of special requirements applied to the investors who want to apply for the L-1 visa to come to the United States to open a new office. Filing the L-1 visa application is an initial step for those investors to come to invest and live the United States. However, most of them plan to stay in the U.S. for a long term in order to operate and manage their businesses. As a result, it is important for them to know when they can file the green card application after they entered the U.S. with an L visa.  A lot of investors wish to know: (1) whether there is any difference in green card application procedure between L-1 visas and other working visas; and (2) how long it will take from the L application to the green card approval.

Mr. Wang asked:

I have some basic understanding about the L-1 visa after I read your articles regarding the L visa. I am planning a long-term investment in the United States, so I wish to move to the U.S. in order to manage and expand my business. Therefore, I want to know when I can file the green card application after I came to the U.S. with an L-1 visa.  For green card application, I also want to know whether there are any differences between the L-1 visa and other working visas.  If I applied for the L visa right now, how long will it take from my L visa application to get a green card approval?


Most of foreign investors have the same concerns as Mr. Wang’s.  The USCIS has what is called the Premium Processing service for the L visa applications. Normally, the USCIS will finish the L visa application within 15 calendar days when the Premium Processing Service is requested. After the L visa beneficiary had an approval from the USCIS, he or she would need to apply for the L visa at the U.S. Embassy in his or her home country. Generally, this process takes three to six months. Regarding green card applications, normally it makes sense for the L visa beneficiaries to file a green card application at least one year after they came to the United States.  The USCIS will take the business structure and the financial capability of the U.S. branch, affiliate or joint venture into account when the USCIS processes the green card application.  Therefore, the L visa beneficiary would need to file the most recent tax return and the financial statements together with the green card application in order to prove the financial capability of the U.S. branch, affiliate or joint venture.  For the L visa beneficiary who is coming to the United States to open a new office, proving the financial capability of the company is very important, especially if he or she wishes to apply for green card in the future.

Among the five employment-based categories for green card application, the L visa holders who are managers and executives of multinational companies belong to the first preference category – the Priority Workers (EB-1). Compared with other categories, they have significant advantage in applying for green card. According to the Immigration Act, no Labor Certificate is required for the L1-A visa holders.  Normally, it takes three months to six months for the Department of Labor to process Labor Certification applications. Therefore, the processing time of the green card application for the L-1 visa beneficiary could be shortened if the Labor Certificate is not required. Besides, the waiting period for the priority date for the EB-1 is shorter than that of others. According to the latest Visa Bulletin (released on December, 2007) from Department of State, visas are available for the EB-1 applicants. Therefore, the L visa beneficiary can file the I-140 (petition for alien worker) & I-485 (Adjust Status) together. The processing time for I-140 & I-485 normally takes 9 months to 12 months even though we have client whose application for green card is approved in 3 to 4 months.  If Mr. Wang files his green card application 1year after he came to the U.S., the overall processing time may take 2 years to 2 and a half years from the L visa petition to the green card approval.


This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.