ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

USA Work Visas: L-1 vs H-1B Visa

Updated on June 2, 2012

Are you looking to come to the US on a work visa and wondering what the best options is for you? I am a US citizen but my boyfriend is a citizen of the EU and the company where he works wants him to come to work to the US on a project so we also were wondering what the best option is since we quickly learned that there are a number of different US work visas.

In this article, I will walk you through the different types of work visas, the application process for each one, and compare and contrast the available work visas.

The L-1 Visa

To put it simply, an L-1 Visa, a.k.a. Intra-company Transfer allows a non-US citizen to come and work in the US with the company he/she works at overseas.

There are two types of L-1 visas:

  1. L-1A which is for people employed in managerial or executive positions; and
  2. L-1B which is for people who have specialized knowledge.

To qualify for the L-1 visa, you must have worked overseas for your company for at least one year in the past three years and with this intra-company transfer visa, you are expected to fill a similar role in the US.

Below are some useful facts about the L-1 visa:

  • it's quick to obtain (just one to two weeks!)

  • you can transfer to an H-1B via change in status if you want in the future

  • it allows you to remain in the US for up to seven years
  • the company where you'll be working needs to be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture partner of the company

L-1 Visa Application Process

  1. Your employer needs to contact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to file a petition for you
  2. When the petition is approved, you'll get an i-797
  3. You'll need to fill out form DS-160 online
  4. Then, you'll need to schedule an appointment with the US embassy near where you live and pay the visa application fee
  5. You will need to bring the original i-797 with you to the appointment as well as the filled out DS-160 form
  6. Once you go to your interview, on average, your passport will be returned to you the day after the interview (roughly a 24-hour turnaround time) with an L-1 stamp

The H-1B Visa

The H-1B Visa, a.k.a. the Professional Person's Visa is the most common work visa, allowing foreign nationals to come and work in the U.S. This type of visa is for people who have a higher education such as an Undergraduate or Master's degrees, as well as models and people working on Government-to-Government research and development. To get an H-1B visa, you need to find a company willing to sponsor your visa to work in the U.S.

Below are some useful facts about the H-1B visa. It:

  • takes anywhere between one to six months to obtain
  • lasts for one to three years
  • is renewable
  • requires you to get a new sponsorship if you want to change employers
  • can lead to getting permanent residency

Are you planning on coming to the US on a work visa?

See results

H-1B Visa Application Process

  1. You must find an employer in the US who is willing to sponsor an H-1B visa for you
  2. The company which is sponsoring you needs to file a Labor Certification Application (LCA), which will be returned to the company once approved
  3. The H-1B petition, which includes forms, fees, proof of education and letter of employment among others will need to be sent to USCIS
  4. After a few month, the company that's petitioning you will receive a receipt from USCIS and you will receive an H1-B petition receipt as well which will provide the expected processing time to obtain approval of the H-1B petition
  5. The company that's sponsoring your visa will receive an approval notice, called Form I-797
  6. You must then go to a US Consulate for an appointment and after 2-3 days, you'll receive your passport with a working visa stamped in it

Differences Between H-1b and L-1 Visas

Can be transferred to another company without having to leave the country
Quick to obtain (under two weeks); Can be transferred to an H1B in October
There is an annual quota; H1B visa petitions are accepted from April 1st until the quota is filled; Can take up to six months to process
You cannot change companies


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)