As per USCIS policy change, L-1A , specifically those who have or will reach a 6+ year period of stay in the U.S. on or before October 1st, but who never held H-1B status are NOT eligible for the 2017 H-1B cap nomination until they complete 365 days outside the U.S.
Is this true?
L-1A has a 7 year max term, which has been in place for several years now. If one completes 6+ years in Oct 2015, then they would have completed 7 years in Oct 2016 (start date of H-1). So they cannot be eligible for H-1 unless they stay outside US for more than 1 year to reset the clock.
This is nothing new and has been in place forever.
I have a green card application in progress with i140 approved.
AFAIK, pending GC application doesn’t provide L-1A extension. If you have applied in EB-1 or EB-2 ROW, then you should be able to file I-485 now and get away from L-1.
But, shouldn’t I be able to convert my L1 to H1?
The threshold is for L-1 and H-1 combine. H-1 is subject to 6 year cap, and you are already in your 7th year.
If you plan to use AC21 privileges for H-1, then I don’t think you can do that here, as you don’t have any previously approved H-1 petition. In addition, AC21 requires the new position to be “similar” to what was originally approved in I-140. Is your employer willing to offer you same role on H-1? Your attorney can look at the job descriptions to ascertain whether they are similar or not.