I know it's a bit of a strange question, but can a US permanent resident (green-card holder) apply for another visa, for example an L-1 visa?

An example of why this can be useful is because getting an L-1 visa is a quick process which includes L-2 visas for the spouse and children, while using a green card to get immigrant or dual intent visas for the family is a longer process.

  • "while using a green card to get immigrant or dual intent visas for the family is a longer process." Do you mean when the person married the spouse after becoming a permanent resident? Because if the person married the spouse before becoming a permanent resident, in most cases, the spouse can just immigrate as a derivative beneficiary. – user102008 Dec 16 '16 at 23:35
  • Could you accept one of these answers? – phoog Dec 18 '18 at 16:42
  • @phoog done, accepted my own information after asking an immigration lawyer. – Oak Dec 18 '18 at 23:42

I don't think people who are already permanent residents can get a nonimmigrant visa or otherwise change into nonimmigrant status without first abandoning permanent residency (by filing I-407 at a US consulate abroad, which requires you to declare you have no intention of residing in the us). This is because all nonimmigrant statuses are intended to be temporary, and this is not consistent with permanent residency, which requires the person to maintain residence in the US. (There might be an exception where a B2 visitor visa can be issued to a permanent resident for an emergency temporary visit, but I don't think this applies to longer-term statuses like L status.)

Note that it is allowed for a permanent resident to be petitioned again and get another immigrant visa and "re-immigrate" through the new petition. So presumably you could try to go through the same process that you used to immigrate the first time (or immigrate through some other route), and your now spouse and children would be able to be derivative beneficiaries. However, depending on the category there may be waiting times involved, or if you immigrated through your employer, your employer may not want to go through the trouble of getting you to immigrate when you have already immigrated.

  • L-1, however, is not a nonimmigrant visa, but a dual-purpose visa. – Oak Dec 17 '16 at 0:23
  • @Oak: It is a nonimmigrant visa. All visas which do not automatically make you a permanent resident upon entry are by definition nonimmigrant visas. Even K-1 are nonimmigrant visas. This is unrelated to the question of whether immigrant intent is considered for people entering on the visa. – user102008 Dec 17 '16 at 0:51
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    @Oak in other words, dual-purpose visas are a subset of nonimmigrant visas. – phoog Dec 17 '16 at 1:31

I asked an immigration lawyer and they said the two are mutually exclusive - a permanent resident may not request a visa (even a dual-purpose one like an L-1), and an L-1 holder getting a green card is no longer considered an L-1 holder.

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    A permanent resident can abandon permanent residence, however, and then apply for an L-1 visa. – phoog Dec 17 '16 at 1:30

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