In our last blog, we reviewed some of the visa options for Canadians looking to conduct business in the United States, including B-1 visas for temporary business visitors, E-1 visas for treaty traders, and E-2 visas for treaty investors. Below, we set out other visas available to entrepreneurs eyeing business opportunities with our neighbours to the south.
The TN visa was created as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily enter the U.S. to conduct professional business activities. The visa holder must have a “non-immigrant intent”; i.e., the person seeking TN Professional Status must not intend to move permanently to the U.S. but instead wishes to move there to work for a temporary time before returning to their home country.
A Canadian national seeing TN Professional Status does not need to seek a visa before entering the United States. Instead, the person usually applies at the time of their border crossing (although they can apply in advance with a $500 USD application fee).
Employers in the United States can also file for TN Professional Status on behalf of a Canadian citizen through Form I-129. In this process, the Canadian citizen only needs to present proof of citizenship and approval notice from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for Form I-129 to gain TN Professional Status.
Once granted, the TN Professional Status visa lasts for three years, after which time the person will need to re-apply if they wish to stay longer.
Professions that are eligible for TN visas are divided into four groups: general, medical, scientific, and education.
Examples of professions included within each group include:
The following documentation for obtaining TN Professional Status must set out or include the following:
Many Canadians work for international companies that have operations in the United States and, as a result, may be required to work in the U.S. for a period of time. L-1 visas allow employers of companies with cross-border operations to send Canadian workers to the U.S.
To qualify for an L-1 visa for entry into the United States, Canadian applicants must meet certain career qualifications. The applicant must:
For companies that are expanding into the United States for the first time, the company must also have a physical location for the new operation in the U.S.
As stated above, if the L-1 visa applicant is not an executive or manager, they must work in a specialized knowledge capacity with the company. A “specialized knowledge capacity” means the applicant has knowledge about the organization’s:
The applicant must also understand the application of the subject matter of their knowledge to international markets.
To be eligible for a blanket petition, a company must:
An L-1 visa holder’s spouse and children under 21 years of age are generally permitted to accompany the visa holder to the United States for the duration of their stay.
Garson Immigration Law is dedicated to helping Canadian workers and entrepreneurs conduct business in the United States with as little bureaucratic hassle as possible. Our team of knowledgeable immigration lawyers assists clients in obtaining all forms of U.S. business visas, including E-visas, TN Professional Status visas, and L-`1 visas. We also provide trusted advice on inadmissibility issues. To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, please reach out online or call 416-321-2860.
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