H-1B visas are for individuals in specialty occupations and usually require a bachelor's degree or equivalent. They are subject to an annual cap and lottery system. L1 visas are for employees being transferred within multinational companies, without a specific degree requirement or annual cap1.
For an H-1B visa, an employer submits a Labor Condition Application to the Department of Labor, then files a petition with USCIS. For an L1 visa, the U.S. employer files a petition with USCIS. If approved, the foreign worker can apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
For H-1B: a completed petition, Labor Condition Application, proof of qualifications, job offer letter, and any necessary licenses. For L1: a completed petition, evidence of the relationship between the U.S. and foreign companies, proof of the transferee's role, and a job offer letter.
H-1B visas are subject to a lottery due to an annual cap, while L1 visas are not capped but require a qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign companies and the transferee's role.
If your application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons. Depending on these reasons, you may be able to file an appeal, a motion to reopen/reconsider, or correct issues and reapply. Legal advice is often beneficial in these situations.