I want to Expand my Business to the US. Do I need a L-1 Visa?

Q. I have a manufacturing business in Brampton, Ontario. I wish to expand my business to the USA. I am a Canadian citizen. My business has been running for over 10 years. Do I need a L-1 Visa?


A. Depending on whether you or your employees wish to actually work in your business in the US, you may or may not require an L-1 Visa. Further in order to qualify for an L1 Visa, the applicant has to either be an executive, manager or a person of “specialized knowledge” and has to have been working for the Canadian company for at least one year within the last three years proceeding the Visa application.  There are other requirements for L-1 Visas which can be found here.

L-1 Visas can fall under NAFTA for Canadian citizens which means you can obtain the Visa at a US/Canada port of entry rather than applying for it at a US Service Center. L-1 Visas are generally valid for one year for “start up” ventures and can be extended for a total of 7 years for executives or managers and 5 years for persons of specialized knowledge.  In some cases, L-1 Visas can also be transferred to an application for US Permanent Residence (Green Card) through he adjustment of status process.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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