With US immigration being in such high demand these days, it is always best to define your intention. For this reason the US immigration system has specific US Work Visa for foreigners that want to expand their business to the States or are being transferred to an existing American business.
Niren & Associates know that handling your L1 Visa case on your own can be a lot on your plate, and we have assisted thousands of businesses in the smooth transition of their employees to the States. Bring your immigration questions to us and we will be happy to assess your case.
L-1 Visa Qualifications for Employees
If you have or are working for an existing business in Canada or another country, you may qualify for an L1 Visa to the US.
The following requirements would need to apply for you to be eligible for the L-1 Visa:
• You must have worked outside the United States such as in Canada for one full year within the preceding three years on a full time basis
• You must have worked for a “qualifying organization” outside the United States as an executive, manager or in a “specialized knowledge”; and
• You are being transferred to the United States to work for a new or existing U.S. Business that is either subsidiary, branch or affiliate of the Canadian company.
There are two types of L-1 Visas:
L-1A Visas are issued for employees working as an executive or manager for their company. L-1B Visas are those persons with specialized knowledge.
Before applying for the L-1 visa, it is essential to be aware of the specific legal definition of these terms(manager, executive and specialized knowledge worker). Without the advice of a knowledgeable immigration attorney, it would be difficult to know if you are eligible to apply.
L-1 Visas and How Long They Last
- L1A visas (managers or executives) are valid for a total period of seven years from the date of issuance. This visa may be extended if one resides in and commutes from Canada or Mexico to the United States for employment.
- L1B visas (specialized knowledge workers) are valid for a total period of five years. Again, if one is a commuter, this period may be extended.
L-1 Visa Qualifications for Businesses
L1 visas are available to employees working for companies outside the United States that have branches, subsidiaries, affiliates or joint venture partners in the United States.
Each type of business relationship is precisely defined by U.S. Immigration Regulations and legal advice is required to determine whether the business relationship complies with the INS definition.
It is also important to note that the foreign business outside the U.S. must continue to operate during the L-1 transfer to the United States. This means that while the foreign worker is in the United States pursuant to the L-1 visa, the business outside the United States must be ongoing. The foreign business outside the United States should therefore retain at least one employee abroad during the duration of the L-1 visa status.
L-1 Opportunities for Canadians
Canadians can apply for L1 Work Visas and can take advantage of NAFTA by of applying for L1 visas at a U.S/Canadian port of entry rather than having to apply at a U.S. immigration office called a Service Center in the U.S. This means that the Canadian can take all his or her documentation to a U.S. border and receive an L1 Visa on the spot!
Documents Needed When Applying for L1 Visa
There are various important documents that are necessary to present when applying for the L-1 Visa.
- Some of these documents include:
- Information about the existing Canadian company you currently work for
- Your recent employment in Canada and business plans for the US.
- US company documents etc.
- U.S. Immigration forms to complete such as the I-129.
Providing the proper documentation is vital to avoiding unnecessary hassle at the border. Leave it to the experts in immigration law, Niren & Associates to review your documentation and case.
I used Niren & Associates initially for my L1-A Visa and my family’s L2 Visas, and then later for our Green Cards. Everyone in the firm that we dealt with were all personable, very responsive and extremely efficient in dealing with the creation of our applications. They patiently followed up on answering our seemingly endless questions throughout the process. – Kerry S.