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L1b to H4

Santa Clara, CA |


My wife is in India right now with valid L1-B visa and waiting for a new project to travel to US. Since, its been a while she is waiting we thought of proessing the H4 and get it stamped to travel to US. My quesions, can she use her L1-B when she is in US after stamping H4?


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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

Visa Blues-

First of all, H4 visa holders are NOT permitted to work in U.S. As you know, an H-4 visa is a visa issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to TEMPORARILY employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Remember that as a spouse you will accompany a legally employed person in the United States on a dependent visa. Do you hold a H-1B visa?

On the other hand, an L-1 visa is a visa document used to enter the United States for the purpose of work in L-1 status. It is a non-immigrant visa, and is valid for a relatively short amount of time, generally three years. L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both the United States and abroad. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation's US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one year prior to being granted L-1 status. The US office must be a parent company, child company, or sister company to the foreign company. The L-1B visa can be extended up to a duration of 5 years; and the L-1A up to 7 years.

After the expiration of the 7 or 5 years respectively, the person(foreigner) must leave the United States for an aggregate of 365 days, and must work for a parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch of the U.S. company during that time before becoming eligible to reapply for an L-1 visa.

That being said, why would you choose to travel to the United States under an H4 Visa when your wife has a "valid L1-B visa?" The question does not make sense, especially since spouses of L-1 visa holders are allowed to work without restriction in the US (using an L-2 visa), and the L-1 visa may legally be used as a stepping stone to a green card under the doctrine of dual intent.

Please be advised that an L-1 status may be renewed and extended WITHIN the United States. Except in the case of blanket petitions, a new I-129 petition must be filed. Renewal in the United States applies to status only, not the actual visa in the passport. For visa renewal, the applicant must go to a U.S. consulate or embassy OUTSIDE the United States. An alien cannot leave the United States and then reenter without a valid L-1 visa, and must appear personally before a consular officer for visa issuance. Also, the fees have increased considerably under Public Law 111-230.

I hope this helps.

Drew Allan Cicconi
Attorney at Law

Disclaimer: This is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This is not intended to be legal advice in your specific case. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website. You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information in your case.



Thanks for the detailed answer Drew Allan Cicconi !!! Yes, I hold an H1-B. The reason I am getting H4 for my wife because her employer is finding it difficult to get a job oppertunity in CA. She was working in Texas before the marriage and now trying it to relocate it to CA. Instead of waiting for so long we thought to process H4 and live together.... Does that sound a fair decision? -Thanks!

Drew Allan Cicconi

Drew Allan Cicconi


Why not convert the L-1 to H1-b?


She can if she changes her status back to L-1

Good luck

Neil I Fleischer (513) 977-4209 Note: Neil Fleischer is an attorney licensed in the State of Ohio The below answer is provided for informational use only. One should not act or refrain to act solely based on the information provided. No attorney/client relationship is created unless an Agreement is signed by the attorney and the client. Best regards, Neil Neil I Fleischer The Fleischer Law Firm, LLC 917 Main Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1314 Direct telephone: 513 977 4209 Enjoy our Blog at



thanks! I would ask in other way. Will her L1-B gets cancelled as soon she get the H4 stamped on top of L1-B? Thanks!


Only if the company files for a change of status back to L-1B or she leaves the US and reenters with an L-1B visa stamp.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


I agree with my colleagues. Good luck.

Mr. Lorenzon's answer to your question does not establish an attorney client relationship, but rather is meant to share knowledge with the general public. For specific advise on your case, you need to consult one on one with an immigration attorney. Mr. Lorenzon can be reached at 216 573 7322 or at All initial constulations are free.