L1 Visa Information

Expanding Your Business to the US?

If you are expanding your business to the US ,then a L1 Visa is most likely ideal for your US Visa needs.

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. L1 Visas are a type of US Work Visa and are for people expanding their business to the U.S. or are being transferred to an existing American Business. L-1 Visas are not easy to get. There are complicated requirements for qualifying for an L1 Visa.

Our law firm has extensive experience in handling L1 Visas for large, medium and even small businesses. Let our US Immigration Attorneys assist you with your L1 Visa application.

Imagine getting your Visa so you can work and grow your business in the US! Contact us for an assessment.

Requirements for L1 Visas

In order to qualify for an L1 Visa, you have to meet specific requirements. The following are some basic requirements for the L1 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; and
  • 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.

Types of L-1 Visas: L-1A and L-1B

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.

NOTE: Each of these terms (manager, executive and specialized knowledge worker) have a very specific legal definition. It is therefore important that you consult with an immigration lawyer to determine if you qualify.

How Long is the L1 Visa Valid For?

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.

Does your Business Qualify for an L1 Visa?

L1 visas are available to employees working for companies outside the United States such as in Canada 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.

NOTE: Your Canadian Business does NOT have to be a large business to qualify for an L1 Visa. However, it is important that your Canadian or non-U.S. business still operates while you are in the U.S. on your L1 Visa.

Getting a Green Card from an L1 Visa

Persons holding or persons who are eligible for a L-1A visa as an Executive or Manager may qualify for an employment based green card. In addition, you also can apply for a green card without having to undergo the rigorous process of Labor Certification which involves proving that there are no U.S. workers who can fill the position offered by the U.S. employer.

L1 Visas 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!

Applying for an L1 Visa: What Documents Do you Need for an L1 Visa?

Generally, there are a long list of documents that you need for the L1 Visa including information about the existing Canadian company, your employment in Canada, business plans for the US, US company documents etc. There are also U.S. Immigration forms to complete such as the I-129. You should always consult with an immigration lawyer for advise about what specific documents you need for your L1 Visa.

IMPORTANT:  Always make sure you have ALL the necessary documents before applying for your L1 Visa.

Need help with an L1 Visa Application?

We are here for you because we have the experience to make your dreams for working and living in the US come true! Contact our US Immigration Lawyers for an assessment of your L1 visa case.