(1) The Canadian business must have operated for at least one year.
(2) The U.S. business can be a new business or one that has been operating but must be able to demonstrate that it can pay wages of the employees
(3) The U.S. business must be owned by the Canadian business or controlled by the same owners of the Canadian business;
(4) The employee that is being transferred must have worked for the Canadian business at least one year in the prior three years.
(5) The employee being transferred must be an executive, manager or a worker with specialized knowledge. The term “specialized knowledge” restricts transferring workers who have typical knowledge. For example, an electrician is not a specialized knowledge employee but an electrician that knows the operation of a piece of equipment made only in Canada can have specialized knowledge.
(6) The U.S. business must have a lease on a location in the U.S.
The L visa category is the best visa category for Canadian businesses that have a successful Canadian operation and want to transfer employees to a U.S. business either controlled by the Canadian business or same the owners of the Canadian business.
The relevant form is the I-129 and those sections of the form applicable for the L visa. The form is only a small part of the application and we will process all additional paperwork with the immigration office on your behalf.
The essential criteria to obtaining a L-1 visa are as follows:
The required documents are:
(1) Evidence such as shares or agreements that show the U.S. business is controlled by the Canadian business or Canadian owner of the Canadian business.
(2) Description of the employee’s job duties.
(3) Letter explaining the position, the employee’s experience, the business operations in each country, the location in the U.S., the salary and the relation of the Canadian business to the U.S. so that person at USCIS can understand the application.
(4) The financial statements for the Canadian business and U.S. business.
(5) Confirmation by letter or with T-4 slips that the Canadian employee has worked for the Canadian company for one year in last three years.
(6) Organization charts of both the Canadian and U.S. company.
If the U.S. business is a new business then additional documents are required:
(1) A business plan.
(2) Photos of the new office.
(3) Lease of space;
(4) Financial documentation as to the ability to invest money from Canada to the U.S.If the beneficiary of the application is a Canadian, the application is made at a U.S. border entry such as land crossing into the U.S. or at an airport prior to boarding a plane to the U.S. The beneficiary must be in route to the U.S. and cannot simply go to a border crossing and return to Canada. The visa application made at the border is granted at the same time the application is made. Not all border crossings treat the applications equally and there are border crossings to avoid.
If the beneficiary is not a Canadian citizen then the application has to be submitted to an USCIS office in the U.S. The application can take 45-90 days to process. However it can be expedited by paying additional fees.
The U.S. government charges $825 for the application. The renewals of the L-1 visa can be made either at a border crossing for immediate processing or by submitting documents to the USCIS in the U.S. and waiting. The renewals are not automatic and they require as much documentation as the initial application and sometimes more if either the U.S. business or Canadian business is weak.
The L visa is granted for periods of 1 to 3 years for a maximum of 7 years for the L-1A visa and 5 years for the L-1B visa.
Spouses and children will be granted the L-2 visa and the spouse can obtain work authorization.
This is the best visa from which to later obtain a permanent residency- the green card.
Most of our clients are in construction, mining, oilfield contracting and own a small businesses.
VISAS FOR CANADIANS