I've received an offer from a corporation that is known for moving people to their American offices by employing them in Canada for 1 year, after which they're eligible for an L-1B visa in the US. The L1 visa can only be extended for 5 years, after which people must supposedly return to their original country of employment.

During those 5 years, is it possible to convert the L-1B into another type of visa that would eventually allow one to obtain a Green Card? Otherwise the offer would be unattractive to me as I'm only interested in permanent relocation.

  • The company could also apply for an H-1B visa at the same time. My company has done that for highly desired employees. The company has them work at an overseas office until the H-1B comes through.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 27, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


L-1B visas allow for a 'dual intent', meaning that they are at the same time a visa for a limited work period (of up to 3+2+2=7 years, they can be extended twice), and potential application to a Green Card.
Looking at alternatives, this is probably your best (legal) way to a permanent residency.

Note, however, that this is not an automatic way; the company you work for (or the one you change to later) needs to sponsor you green card. In a nutshell, you cannot get a green card without a company sponsor out of any visa (unless you have family that are US citizens).

If you are eligible, you should enter the Diversity Visa program ("green card lottery") every year; it can be done in parallel to any other visa situation, and it allows you to go from nothing to green card, bypassing all other processes (you have to win first of course, and you still need to have the qualifications, but they are easy to fulfill).

  • 1
    An L1B can only be extended to 5 years (the L1A allows 7 years) and, unlike an H visa, can't be extended past that even if the green card has been applied for. The company probably needs to begin work on the green card at least 2, or better 3, years ahead of time since an L1B will need PERM labor certification for the green card. It would be good to know that the company was planning on doing that since the application depends on the company.
    – Dennis
    Jun 27, 2017 at 14:52

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