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Given a Choice, Is the L-1 Visa or the H-1b Visa the Better Option?

In general, I would say the L-1A (versus the L-1B) visa is more optimal than the H-1B visa. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Longer validity period
  • No cap/quota (you can apply at any time)
  • Spouses can work
  • No minimum prevailing wage requirement
  • No minimum education requirements
  • Can likely apply for the faster track EB-1(C) green card category, which has no wait times or labor certification requirements.

The L-1B visa has different requirements and may not be a better option than the H-1B visa depending on the circumstances.

If an L-1 visa holder wants to work for a different employer, he or she can then switch to the H-1B visa (as long as he or she meets the H-1B visa requirements). However, the time spent on the L visa is counted against the H-1B visa time.