Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

EB1-C Green Cards for Multinational Managers and Executives

I’ll walk you through this option one step at a time. Enjoy 🙂

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In this article, I’m going to walk you through how Managers and Executives who own or work for companies with a branch in the U.S. (as well as a foreign office) can move employees to the U.S. and secure green cards for them as well. The steps involved are a little complicated but I’ll do my very best to walk you through it so you can decide if this option is right for you.

The L-1A Intra-company Transferee Visa

Most managers and executives first get transferred to the U.S. under an L-1A Intra-company transfer visa. The reason is that these visas, once thoroughly put together, can be processed by U.S. Immigration very quickly and you can get your manager or executive to the U.S. in just a couple of months. There are no visa quotas involved, which means that these visas are available all year. Also, there are no medicals involved either. So, in a nutshell, if you want to bring yourself or one of your senior staff to the U.S. to either open up the new U.S. branch or join an established branch, the L-1A intra-company visa is by far your best option to start with.

Qualifying for an L-1A Visa vs. an EB-1C Green Card

The qualifications for the L-1A and EB-1C green card is exactly the same, namely: –

1: You must have worked for the foreign office for at least one year in the last three in a managerial or executive position.

2: You must be managing currently and be coming to the U.S. to manage graduate level employees or junior managers or supervisors who in turn manage a core work force. In other words, L-1A candidates must, by definition, have senior roles providing oversight over other more junior employees.

Why Not Go Directly for the EB-1C Green Card?

The reason why 99% of managers and executives first apply for the L-1A visa rather than the just going directly for the EB-1C is that going for the green card can take several years to process, whereas the L-1A takes only a few months. So, if time is of the essence and you need your manager in the U.S. fast, then the L-1A will do the trick. However, once the manager or executive has settled in the U.S. the next logical step would be to apply for the EB-1C green card so that the employee and his family can put down some roots and provide any children they might have with the security and privileges that come with having green cards for the whole family.

So, this next part of the article is for those how either has had an L-1A for at least one year or those who want to review the process of going directly for the EB-1C green card.

How Long Does It Take to Process an EB-1C Green Card?

We’ve already discussed the fact that if you qualify for an L-1A then you most certainly qualify for the EB-1C green card. The only exception is that if you are looking to apply for an EB1-C as your first visa, then the U.S. branch must already be fully operational and set up for at least one year. So, the manager or executive would be coming to an active operation. Whereas, L-1As can be issued to set up the U.S. operation from scratch.

Ok, because the EB-1C is an actual green card, U.S. is limited as to how many employment-based green cards that can be issued each year to around 140,000. If this quota is exceeded during any one year then they will still accept further applications but they will be backlogged – this is called retrogression.

Before I reveal how long it will take actually get your EB-1C green card let me first walk you through the various stages of the process.

Stage 1 – Filing the EB-1C Petition

The first stage in the process is to file a fully documented application to USCIS to claim that you meet the EB-1C requirements and definition to qualify for this green card. So, if you already have an L-1A, we’d update that documentation and described how you have been successful in that role. If you do not already have an L-1A then our application would be very much like an original L-1A application but we’d be showing that the U.S. branch is already well established and meets all of the requirements, etc. So, we file your case and USCIS will over the course of a few weeks or months decide as to your eligibility. If they approve this application we can then go to Stage 2, applying for green cards for you and your family.  

Stage 2 – Filing for the EB-1C Green Card (Family)

So, this is where we have to take a much closer look at the availability of green cards due to the 140,000 quota on employment-based green cards.

Below is a chart illustrating how the visas are allocated and the published processing times that we need to be aware of.

So, the countries across the horizontal axis show that China, El Salvador (et. al), India, Mexico, and the Philippines have a portion of the quota carved out just for nationals from those countries. So, if you were born in any of those countries, even if you are a citizen of another country, this is the processing lane you must stay in.

Visa Bulletin Chart June 2019

The ‘All Chargeability, etc.” column is for everyone else. So, if you’re from Australia then this is your lane.

Priority Dates

So, when we filed your original EB-1C petition, when it was received you would have been given a date of receipt, otherwise known as a Priority Date (PD). Your PD is very important as this date determines your place in the queue.

So, let’s say your PD is May 1st, 2019 and you’re from Australia, then this chart is saying that USCIS is currently looking at green card applications that were filed September 1st, 2018, thus it could be roughly eight months before USCIS actually gets to review your EB1C stage 2 green card application.

If you are from India, as you can see USCIS is looking at cases that were filed October 1st, 2017, so in this case, your wait is roughly 21 months or so. So, you can see why going for the L-1A initially makes sense.

Final Action Date Chart

When your green card case has been processed, USCIS has recently created a second chart that reflects the cases that they are now ready to issue green cards on.

Visa Bulletin Chart June 2019

As you can see from the chart, if you are Australian and have a PD of May 1st, 2018, they are currently an almost one year wait to have your green card actually issued, but if you’re from India the wait is currently more like four and half years wait.


Note, these processing dates change monthly, so you need to monitor this chart constantly. The upshot is that L-1A visas can last up to seven years, so as long as you apply for your EB-1C after your first anniversary in L-1A status, and then apply for your EB-1C green card, you’ll have plenty of time to secure your green cards.

If you do have children, you need to make sure that your EB-1C is approved and filed well before their 21st birthday to ensure that the entire family gets their green cards. As long as you have your green cards filed; even if they “age out” during processing, they will still get their green cards.

Ok, I’m sure you will have a lot of questions, so please complete our inquiry form on our website and we’ll be more than happy to guide you through the process.