Is it possible to switch from H1 to L1 visa without returning to home country?

Question by Karen: Is it possible to switch from H1 to L1 visa without returning to home country?
I have a valied H1 visa and i am working in US.
Because of some cost cutting measures, my parent company in India has decided to call off all H1 employees (employees on L1 visa are paid less than H1 employees, i believe!!)
After returning, they want to process L1 visa and send me to US for a short term project. I understand that one can not have H1 and L1 visas at the same time!
Is it possible at all to convert from H1 to L1 visa without going back to India? As i will still be working for the same employer, can they cancel the H1 and issue an L1 immediately?
As i am pregnant, I dont want to travel all the way just for getting the visa conversion done.
I appreciate your suggestions. Thank you.

Best answer:

Answer by Mamapeapod
On completing the maximum allowable period in L1 status, the employee must be employed outside the United States for a minimum of one year before a new application is made for L or H status.

You will have to return to your own country is your H1 visa is cancelled your company would have to apply for a L visa. They may not issue you will one if you have been here on a H visa for the full six years, as a L visa would give you another 7 years

There are two types of employee who may be sponsored for L1 visas:

Managers/Executives
The legal definition of management and executive roles for these purposes is quite strict, and a detailed description of the duties attached to the position will be required. In particular, the executive or manager should have supervisory responsibility for professional staff and/or for a key function, department or subdivision of the employer. Such personnel are issued an L1A visa, initially for a three year period extendible in 2 year increments to a maximum of 7 years.

Specialized Knowledge Staff
This category covers those with knowledge of the company’s products/services, research, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. Staff in this category are issued an L1B visa, initially for three years extendible to a maximum of five years.

What do you think? Answer below!




3 Responses to “Is it possible to switch from H1 to L1 visa without returning to home country?”

  1. anon says:

    Your employer should be giving you this information.

  2. EW says:

    You can not switch visas in the U.S u have to return home>

  3. Pradeepan R says:

    Karen,
    it is Possible to convert from L1 to H1, without having to go back to home country.
    (If your H1 is approved during the time you are on L1 in US, then you can continue to be in US. and whenever you go back to Home country, you can attend visa stamping at That time).

    But I’m not sure if the same applies for H1 –> L1 conversion.
    You can get more info. by visiting / posting queries in immigrationportal.com
    or Murthy’s Site.
    or better ask a lawyer.
    (Cross check these answers later with the answer given by your employer).

    Hope this helped. All the Best.