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I need some expert advice to decide my next course of action. I am currently in US on L1B for the last 4 years and this year I need to decide if I should go for H1B or ask my employer to file for a green card.

As per maximum stay, I can only stay for 5 years on L1 and 6 years in H1, so if I choose H1 and if everything works out in my favor then I will be getting just one more year to stay in US. Can I instead use this time to get my GC processed? I ask this because:

  1. I will getting just one additional year (subject to clearing the lottery)
  2. Cost of H1 has increased significantly so I am not sure if this is worth for one extra year.
  3. Can I use this time (5th year) to get GC filed so that I will not have to go through the lottery and is more worth investment for my company.

Note: I don't have much information on the time it takes for green card processing and I'm not sure if one year of time is enough for me to get to point where they allow me an extension since my application is pending.

Note: I am from India so the current priority date for GC is 2008 but I just need to be at a point before the end of my 5 years where I get an extension with GC in processing. Please suggest.

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  1. I will getting just one additional year (subject to clearing the lottery) That is correct. The time you spend in the US on L1 is used to determine H1B validity, so you will only get 1 yr more unless (see below)
  2. Cost of H1 has increased significantly so I am not sure if this is worth for one extra year. Really depends on what you want. If you are willing to move back to India, there is no point applying for an H1B. H1B allows job portability and moving between employers. H1B can be extended beyond the 6 year term in the following conditions: (a) the foreign national must be the beneficiary of a Labor filing made 365 days prior (or I-140 in those cases that do not need the LC filing); or (b) the LC and I-140 must be approved, with no visa number (based upon the priority date) available.

The first step towards a GC is applying for Labor Certification using PERM. The day DOJ receives your application is your priority date. If you do not have 1 year after this priority date, you will be unable to extend your H1B.

  1. Can I use this time (5th year) to get GC filed so that I will not have to go through the lottery and is more worth investment for my company

That's not how it works. If you do not have permanent lawful residence, the only way to stay in the US is on a Visa. L1B has 5 yr limit as you know, you can not skip lottery just by filing a GC application.

Your best bet is to file H1B, hope you get selected for lottery and file PERM towards obtaining Labor Ceritfication ASAP. As far as I know you should be able to get this done even while on L1B while you wait for H1B. once you have an H1B your LCert will be pending > 1 yr and you should be able to get h1b extensions for 1 yr at a time. This iwll be 3 yrs at a time once I-140 is approved.

**Please note this is not legal opinion and you should consult your lawyer ** Source: I was employed in the US for 5yrs on H1B, moved out for 5yrs and am moving back on L1B this year and will be applying for H1B next year.

  • Hi, any help here please? expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/12052/… Thanks – Ga Sacchi Sep 3 '17 at 1:31
  • I do not understand this answer. At least when I did it in the late 1970's, there was no problem transitioning directly from L1 to green card, without going through the H1 lottery at all. My employer did the labor certification paperwork while I was working under the L1 visa. Has something happened to close off that route? – Patricia Shanahan Aug 6 at 21:53
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There's no question. If you have an option to have the employer file GC for you - you have the employer file GC for you. Why on Earth would you even be considering anything else?

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