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L1 to H1B visa conversion Advantages ? L1 to H1B transfer, change of status implications in US

I have seen many of my friends, who come to US on L1 visa from a major Indian IT consulting company like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, TCS, etc and convert to H1B visa after one year or even less. I will try to explain some of the advantages of this process.

Job Market myth in US :

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One of the biggest myths when you are applying for H1B visa petition is, you do not know how the job market is in US and How everything works down here in US.  People are kind of skeptical about the situation here. I completely agree with perception of situation.  Many of the big IT vendors like CTS, TCS or Infy, etc have implementations in US and they bring in their employees to work on site in US. IT people work very hard in India to get an onsite chance including countless sleepless nights and late night conference calls. The bad part is, L1 visa working employees realize after coming to US, that they are not well compensated when compared to their counterparts working on H1B visa in US.  Guess what, once they get grounded well around here in US, they plan on L1 to H1B conversion. The process of L1 to H1B transfer is not very complicated.

Advantages  of L1 to H1B transfer & implications :

There are many advantages of L1 to H1B visa transfer like below

  • Playing Safe : You are playing it very safe, there is no risk involved. Worst case scenario, you can still stay in US on L1 visa  if you realize the Job market is not improving.
  • Seek Full time Employment with Clients : Your opportunities are not limited to just IT consulting companies. You can start looking full time opportunities with a Client company. Might not be the client company you serve on L1, other similar Clients or American companies who need people with your skills. Your opportunities are in fact, endless.
  • L1 to H1B change of Status : Change of status is very simple from L1 to H1B visa. The transfer process is seamless. You can transfer your status from L1 to H1B visa and start working as soon as your H1B starts in October. You do not need to go to visa stamping, unless you plan to leave the country for some reason and re-enter US.
  • Choosing Good IT consulting company : You can talk to real companies and verify their authenticity. It is easy to find companies information in US, than in India. Your network is much broader. You have good chance of connecting with people in a company and you can make a wise choice for choosing a consulting company if you have to.  For more info, check article : How to Choose your H1B sponsor employer
  • Job search, first consulting project time save : You are not wasting any time for job search. The idea is, you keep working on L1 visa and then look for a Job and then take up an opportunity only when you find a good project, at least the first project. You have an option to choose the project. No time is wasted for break through. Typically, first consulting job is the harder part. Good things is, you do not have to waste time for the first job.
  • Help for projects : The other added advantage is, let’s say you start a project and you need some technical help or need to discuss some things about anything, you have a chosen set of old company friends who can help you to solve the issues.

I can keep on writing… the above listed seem very logical and definitely gives you an advantages. Your strategy for applying for H1B visa should be a safe bet with the current economy and recession. If you come to US on L1 visa and then transfer from L1 to H1B, you are playing a safer bet.  On the other hand, you may have lot of work load and other commitments on L1 visa because you may be the only person on site, but “there is no free lunch, you may have to work double shift to hedge the risk…”

Do you know any other advantages ? Add a comment…


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  1. I am in L1A visa now since 2020 Feb for ABC company . I had H1B from 2013-2017 for ABC company . Extension denied in 2017 for H1B . Stayed in india for two years and then did L1A and now working in L1A. Can i make change of status to H1B and transfer it to different organization .If Yes , what would be the steps.Please help.

  2. Hi, I am in L1A in company A and applied for H1b lottery with company B. My H1b lottery got picked in third round Nov19,2021.. if I fill H1b change of status with company B what happens to my L1A and how long will I have to serve notice in company A once get approved H1 B which is happening post OCT 1… will I get any time to serve notice in my current company once have approved H1A Change of status..

  3. Hi ,

    I am on L1B currently and i would like to go for H1B transfer , do i need to go with regular H1B CAP or is there any other process for L1B to H1B transfer.

  4. Hi –
    I am on L1A and completing 7 years of MPS in Nov 10 2020 and in USA. My H1B is picked up for 2020 and I have now approved petition along with valid I94 which will kick in Oct 1, 2020 through Dec, 2022. What if I quit my company now while on L1A and join another company on H1B ? Is it legal ?
    What are risks and how the transfer of H1B from old to new employer will happen ?

    • Chandrakanth,
      Were you in US all 7 years continuously ? What do you mean by MPS ?
      You can only stay in US on H1B or L1 for certain amount of time, after that you need to leave the country and be outside for 1 year, unless green card is in process.

  5. Hi,
    I am in US on L1A visa with approved I-140 under EB1C. My company also filed H1B which was also approved with Consular Processing.

    If I change from L1A to H1B and work in the same company and under same role, will there by an impact my approved I-140 under EB1C?

    • Srikanth – I am in a similar situation and planning to file H1-B (already have i-140 approved in EB1-C through my L1-A visa), wanted to check your experience if you ever moved to H1-B and was there any impact on your GC process?

      • Hello,

        I am on the same boat. I am on L1A with approved 140 with PD APR2018. I have completed 4 years and 8 months on my L1A visa. Pl. share your experiences. I am not looking to change my employer instead i can ask my employer to file H1B but am concerned if changing to H1B can impact my GC process.

  6. Hi,
    I traveled to US in 2015 on L1B visa and stayed on same for 3 years, meanwhile same company filed my H1B and after its approved I traveled to India and got my H1B stamped and traveled back on H1B status. I’ve completed 1 year on H1B status and 3 years on L1B. my current active visa status is H1B. How many more years I can stay in US on H1B status as its valid through Oct 2017?

  7. Hello!

    I am on L1-B with company A and have got H1B COS status approved with Company A itself. I am planning to India for some personal reasons and at the same time get the stamping done from Chennai. I am not sure how risky it would be for me.


    • Just leave US and serve your own country why do you want to lead this kind of tension life you might save a bit less in INDIA it’s ok but you lead peaceful life

    • jay,
      You have been with the same company, so in general, it should be fine. You have all the documents and all the history…so should be Ok. Just carry all the documents and be confident, hope all goes well.

  8. I was working for company-A on L1B visa from OCT-2013 and my visa will expire on AUG-2016. Company-B filed H1B with COS for me, this year and it got picked up in lottery. Now Company-A want to extend my L1B for two more years. I want to continue working for Company-A and didn’t want to switch to Company-B. Can I continue working with Company-A with new approved L1 petition or I need to go India and get my L1B stamped with new approved petition to keep my L1B status.

    • veerendra,

      You need to take an action to invalidate your COS so that you can continue to work on L-1. This can be done through:
      1. Traveling outside US while H-1 COS is pending and then return on L-1 visa
      2. Leave US after H-1 COS has been approved but return after Oct 1 on L-1 so that approved COS becomes ineffective.

  9. I am on L1A visa and my visa is going to be expired in couple of days. but the client for which my company was used to work wants to hire me on their payroll. what is the best possible way to get a valid visa from india as I am going back there.

  10. Hi,
    I am on L1B visa through Employer A. I want convert to H1 visa, my current employer A will not convert me so I have to look for employer/consultant B.
    My question is if my H1B is picked up in lottery do I have the option to use the H1 for my existing employer A?


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