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The difference between L-1, B-1 and H-1B employment visas

Many United States companies often opt to employ skilled foreigners to fill positions that they're unable to find any adequately trained Americans to fill. The type of work visa that a prospective candidate may qualify for varies depending on how long they're expected to remain in the U.S., what their professional expertise is like and where they're from.

The B-1 class of visa is intended for foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. on business for less than a year. Once here, B-1 visa holders are limited in what they're allowed to do. They can conduct research, take part in meetings, participate in negotiations, broker sales, invest in or purchase things and solicit and hire employees. Their U.S. sponsor is, however, not allowed to provide this type of visa holder compensation for their work.

Individuals eligible for a H-1B visa include those which hold "specialty" occupations. In many cases, those that qualify for an H-1B visa have completed advanced academic studies in a particular field.

An individual admitted to the U.S. with an H-1B visa is eligible to stay here for as long as six years. That validity period can be extended in instances in which an employer has decided to sponsor a foreign worker for permanent residency. H1-B visas are issued on a limited basis annually so applying earlier in the year is encouraged.

The type of company eligible to sponsor an employee for a L-1 employment visas is one that was in operation both prior to and plans to remain the same after the foreign national arrives. The sponsor of this visa can either be the subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch of the the U.S. company requesting the transfer.

Foreign nationals who apply for the L-1 visa must have worked at least one uninterrupted year during the last three for the same company that they'll be employed with in the U.S. Additionally, in order to qualify for this type of visa, the candidate must possess some degree of specialized knowledge. In the case of the L-1A and L-1B visas, the individual must hold an executive or management-level role with the company.

If you're interested in qualifying for a work visa to come to the U.S., then a New Orleans employment-based immigration attorney can provide guidance as you go about applying for one.

Source: Association of Corporate Counsel, "Employing and Hiring Foreign Nationals in the U.S. – Employer Sponsored Visas," accessed Dec. 28, 2017

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