Often times, employers need to transfer their workers to the U.S. in order to undergo training, to provide training, or to fill an existing need. For Canadians, this process has been streamlined provided that the necessary requirements are met. Specifically, in order to apply for an intra-company transferee (or L-1 visa), the following three criteria must be met:
Canadian citizens are allowed to make an L application directly at a U.S. port of entry. This is an enormous benefit for Canadian citizens and employers, as it can significantly speed up the processing of the application. However, while the application will be decided quickly at the port of entry, it must also be prepared perfectly, as the port of entry officer does not have the time or resources to review and assess a less than fully prepared application. In those instances, an officer will refuse to process the application, or issue a refusal of the application.
When getting started, the first thing the company should consider is the purpose for transferring the employee, and begin the process of gathering all of the relevant documentation. As mentioned above, the companies must show that they exist in a qualifying corporate relationship, and as a result of that, it is imperative that the documentation presented at the port of entry prove without doubt that a qualifying relationship exists. The documentation must also confirm that the transferring employee has been with the company for at least one year in the past three.
The U.S. Immigration Lawyers at PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP will provide you with a detailed document checklist that will aid you in gathering this documentation, and will assist in drafting all necessary letters or forms that must be presented to the U.S. authorities.
L-1 visas can be issued for an initial period of up to three years. Subsequent renewals are possible. Executives/Senior Managers are allowed entry for up to 7 years, and Specialized Knowledge workers are allowed a maximum entry of up to 5 years. When a company is opening a new office in the U.S., an initial L visa will only be granted for a one year period.