Each new year brings promise, excitement, and goals of self-improvement. If you are a small business owner in Canada, you might have plans to expand your company into new markets and industries this year. The L-1 intracompany transferee regulations under the NAFTA treaty provides special rules allowing you to open a new office in the U.S.
The L-1 visa is available to Canadian executives and managers who wish to expand their current operations into the states. A “new office” is defined as an office that has been incorporated and doing business for less than one year. The Canadian employer must be able to evidence its financial ability to commence doing business in the U.S. and to pay the prospective beneficiary. The employer must also show that the company has secured sufficient physical space in the U.S. to house its new office, and that such space will support the nature and scope of the business activity. In addition, the employer must provide information on the organizational structure of the current and proposed business entities, the financial goals of both entities, and the size of the U.S. investment. Finally, the employer must provide evidence of stable and on-going business operations in Canada, and that they will remain active and viable while the beneficiary is in the United States.
If the government is satisfied with this evidence, an L-1 visa will be issued to the beneficiary for a one-year period. With a showing of ongoing business operations, financial viability, and the prospective hiring of U.S. workers following this first year, status may then be extended for an additional three year period.
If you have plans to expand your Canadian business into the U.S. this year, please contact us. We regularly appear at the Peace Bridge with clients opening a new office, and we can provide you with professional guidance regarding the required documentation and your long term plans for growth.
Berardi Immigration Law wishes all of our clients a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!