Berardi Immigration Law presented 12 petitions to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on behalf of our clients during December 2016. This month most of our clients were submitting petitions for L-1A and TN status. We provide highlights of two of these cases below:
• Companies wishing to establish U.S. operations may use the L-1 category to transfer employees to the U.S. to engage in the business of opening a new office.
Generally, the L-1 category is used to transfer foreign nationals from a foreign company to an established company in the U.S. However, occasionally a foreign company wishes to transfer employees to the U.S. in order to set up a new office.
The requirements on the foreign national remain the same: he or she must have worked for the foreign company for at least one out of the previous three years and must also possess either specialized knowledge or be employed in a managerial or executive position. But, because they are coming to the U.S. to set up a new office, evidence of U.S. operations is different.
In these cases, U.S. Customs and Border Protection needs to see evidence of establishment of a U.S. company that has common ownership and control with a foreign company, such as stock certificates, Articles of Incorporation, a U.S. business lease, etc. If this is established to their satisfaction, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will approve one year of L-1 status to give the U.S. company time to establish revenue.
Our Canadian corporate client was established in 2011 and was ready to break into the U.S. market. We prepared an L-1A Petition for the president of the company to transfer to the U.S. to establish operations. By including enough evidence of existing successful Canadian operations and formation of the U.S. entity, we were able to assist him in obtaining L-1A status for one year.
• TN Management Consultants may qualify for a longer period of stay if working for a U.S. Consulting Company
There are over 60 NAFTA-approved professions, each with required documentation and qualifications. In applying for TN status, a foreign national must submit enough documentation for the Customs and Border Protection agent to understand the job offered and that the job is a profession designated under the NAFTA treaty.
One of the most highly scrutinized TN categories is the Management Consultant category. A Management Consultant must be doing hands-off work, such as analyzing business operations and making recommendations to management on improvements. Implementing and directing these improvements should be done by management, not the Management Consultant. Typically, these are short-term engagements.
However, occasionally a Management Consultant will come to the United States to work for a U.S. consulting company and in turn consult for the clients of the U.S. company, not for the U.S. company directly. Our client was a Management Consultant who specialized in health and safety. A U.S. company sought to retain his Management Consulting services for their construction clients. Because our client was coming to the U.S. to consult for a consulting company, we were able to obtain his TN status for three years.
If you are interested in applying for a NAFTA-based visa at the border, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!