Dear Sophie: What are my options for changing my status from an L-1 visa?

Dear Sophie: What are my options for changing my status from an L-1 visa?

Here’s a different edition of “Dear Sophie,” the tips column that answers immigration-associated queries about doing work at technological know-how businesses.

“Your questions are critical to the distribute of knowledge that permits men and women all above the planet to increase earlier mentioned borders and pursue their desires,” suggests Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration legal professional. “Whether you are in people ops, a founder or looking for a career in Silicon Valley, I would enjoy to solution your queries in my future column.”

TechCrunch+ associates obtain access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns use promo code ALCORN to invest in a a person- or two-12 months subscription for 50{c024931d10daf6b71b41321fa9ba9cd89123fb34a4039ac9f079a256e3c1e6e8} off.

Dear Sophie,

I started off doing work for my present-day employer on STEM-Opt, but I have dropped out in the H-1B lottery 4 occasions. Fortunately, my employer transferred me to an worldwide business office, and I am now coming back again to the U.S. on an L-1 visa.

I’ve heard lots of problems from my classmates about not being in a position to swap businesses on an L-1 visa. I really don’t see myself staying at my employer for 6 much more yrs, which is the approximated time until finally I can get a green card centered on my employer’s inside policy.

What are my choices for modifying my immigration status so I can work at a startup in the U.S. in just a yr or two?

— Tenacious Transferee

Dear Tenacious,

Welcome back to the United States! Thanks for sharing your immigration story and achieving out to me about possibilities. I appreciate to listen to about employers that are prepared to go the more mile to retain gifted global hires!

Prior to I dive into your query about your possibilities, let’s go in excess of some fundamentals about get the job done visas and employment-primarily based eco-friendly cards.

Work visa basics

A perform visa, which is also referred to as a nonimmigrant visa, is tied to the employer that features you a task, sponsors you for the visa and information the visa application on your behalf. A work visa enables you to dwell in the U.S. and do the job for that employer for a confined total of time.

The L-1A visa for an intracompany transferee manager or govt and the L-1B visa for an intracompany transferee with specialised expertise are the two temporary do the job visas. The L-1A makes it possible for for a most stay of seven yrs in the U.S. — 3 yrs in the beginning adopted by two renewals that give you two yrs every single. The L-1B offers for a utmost keep of 5 many years in the U.S. — a few a long time at first and then one two-year renewal.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Impression Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Regardless of which visa you have when you change work opportunities, your new employer will most likely require to petition you for a new nonimmigrant operate visa just before you commence your new purpose. Be mindful about preserving your position by lawfully working and getting shell out stubs in advance of you improve standing to the long term organization so that you can remain in the U.S. for the swap and retain any long run green card apps secure.

Also, continue to keep in mind that when you enter the U.S. or chat with U.S. immigration officials when you have a nonimmigrant visa, you have to reveal that you intend to ultimately return to your household state, unless you are trying to find specified classes of nonimmigrant position this sort of as H-1B specialty profession, an O-1 extraordinary ability or an L-1 intracompany transferee.

The H-1B and L-1 are twin-intent visas, which indicates they are nonimmigrant visas, but you can categorical your intent to go after a inexperienced card to keep on being in the U.S. completely. Though not technically a twin-intent visa, the O-1 lets for twin-intent: an personal does not have to sustain foreign residency and filing for a environmentally friendly card does not disqualify the particular person from acquiring or retaining an O-1 visa.