After I-140 approved, is L1 to H1 transfer dependent on lottery

I am on L1 visa valid till Dec 2022 with extensions.
My firm will file my green card in EB-2 category.

I understand that since getting green card will take longer than my visa expiration, I will need to convert my visa to H1-B.
Will the conversion from L1 to H1-B be dependent on lottery?

Is it possible that even when I-140 is approved, my conversion to H1-B does not take place due to name not appearing in lottery and I would have to leave US after my L1 visa expiration?


Conversion from L1 to H1B will need lottery

If you are applying for H1B for the first time, then yes, you will need to go through H1B lottery process.

If you had any H1B earlier and did not use the complete H1B 6 year quota, then you can convert your L1 to H1B without going through lottery.

H1B not selected in lottery

I-140 is meant to give you extended stay beyond the quota limits like H1 has 6 years and L1 has 7 years.

If you are trying to convert to H1B, then, you will need to first get H1B approved through lottery. Does not matter if you are doing it after 6 years or before 6 years.
Once you get H1B, you can use your I-140 to keep extending your H1B as long as you want.

You can extend your stay on L1 using approved I-140 beyond the quota of 7 years.

More information:

Thank you Anil for the quick and detailed reply.

Since I have not had H1-B before, I understand from your reply that my conversion from L1 to H1 will be subject to winning the lottery.

If one can stay and work beyond 7 years of L1 visa after I-140 approval, then what are the advantages of trying to get H1-B, as I see people trying to convert their visas to H1-B during the green card process ?

With H1B, you can change employer whenever you want while staying within USA.

You do not have that liberty or option with L1 visa. You are tied to one employer.

As you’ve mentioned about we can extend our stay on L1 using approved I-140 beyond the quota, are you stating about L-1A? What about L-1B? Can I stay on L-1B beyond 5 years using approved I-140?

You will have to convert to H1B to stay beyond L1 max time.

Hi Anil,

I am also going through a similar situation. Please help clarify the below:

I am currently working in L1A Visa. My current L1A Visa was expired on 14th September 2020 and I have applied for my L1A extension through my current employer and awaiting for decision from USCIS. This will be my first extension and my Max Out date is 03/28/2025. I have my I140 approved under EB2 category and my priority date is 30-May-2019. My nationality is India.

I also have an approved H1B petition, which was filed by another consulting company in 2008, and the petition validity dates are 10/1/2008 through 09/30/2011. I did not even go for stamping while I was in India due to a big recession at that time. I haven’t worked in H1B status till now in US. My first entry into US was through L1A.

My questions are:

  1. Would it be possible to transfer my old H1B (approved petition in 2008, but not gone for Visa stamping until now) to either my current employer or any prospective employer while I am in the US without going through H1B lottery process?
  2. I understand, I cannot do the change of status while my L1A extension decision is pending with USCIS. In case, if it’s getting denied for any reason, can my current employer /or any prospective employer do a change of status from L1A to H1B?

Please advise.

Hi @Sai_World

The chances are very low for using your 2008 H1B as you never used it.

The USCIS might deny it by arguing that you were never counted against the H1B Cap.

Hello Anil,

Thank you for your response. I have the Original approved H1B petition document with me. If i have the approved petition , I though I was counted in the H1B cap in 2008. Please correct me, if I am wrong.

Seeing Lot of rejections in L1A extenstion, I wanted to leverage my approved I140 and old H1B to convert…

Best regards,

Using the approved H1B i797 by working and running payroll is important to be counted.

It is on USCIS discretion.

Hi Anil,

Thank you for clarifying. So, I dont have any other options to continue my stay in US unless my L1A extension is getting approved.

Best regards,

Hi Anil,

I am on L1b visa maxing out in October 2021. I have an approved I-140. In order to extend I am planning to apply for H1B with a different employer. If I get picked up in lottery, can I extend my stay in US beyond 2022 October considering I have already spent 5 years on L1B.


Hi ,

I am in similer situation.

I had H1 and on H1 I was in the US for 8 months from 2013 to 14.

I came back to the US on L1 in 2015 after staying in India for around 17 months.

I am in US from 2015 to date and my L1A is getting over Aug 14th 2022.
1 . I want to know if I can convert to H1 now without going to India?
2 . If i have to go back to India, after back to India can i use H1 and apply for expectation and comeback?

Thank in advance :slight_smile: