L-1 Visa Is a Top Option for Multinational Companies

Multinational Companies
November 14, 2022

Employers should consider an L-1 visa when transferring high-level personnel, such as executives or managers. This consideration is indispensable for Canadians because of the USMCA/NAFTA free trade agreement. Canadians have even more advantages under this trade agreement than Mexicans.

An L-1 work visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer foreign national employees. Such employees include executives, managers, or those with specialized knowledge from a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in the United States; this applies if they worked for the company for a year in the three years before entering the US.

One advantage Canadians have when using this visa is not having to apply in advance. Instead, they may apply at any United States pre-clearance/pre-flight station in Canada or on the border of the US and Canada. However, the application requires the same documents and filing fees as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Not having to file in advance is a significant advantage, especially now with the delays at the USCIS and consulates. These delays are noticeably long because of staffing shortages and backlogs from the pandemic. The delays can be up to a year at some US consulates abroad.

Approval for applications at the US-Canadian border typically lasts up to three years and is renewed until the end of the authorized period. However, this changes to five years for workers with specialized knowledge and seven years for managers and executives.

There are some requirements these workers must meet, such as:

  • The petitioner must be the same corporation, firm, other legal entity, affiliate, parent, branch, or subsidiary that the beneficiary worked for abroad.
  • The beneficiary needs to be an executive or manager or have specialized knowledge and will be working in a managerial or executive position or a position requiring technical knowledge.
  • The petitioner and beneficiary must have the required employer-employee relationship.
  • The petitioner is required to continue doing business in the United States and a minimum of one other country.
  • The beneficiary must have been employed aboard by a qualifying organization for one continuous year in the three years preceding their admission to the United States.
  • For beneficiaries who will be in a position requiring specialized knowledge, their stay in the US with the L non-immigrant status must not have exceeded the limit of five years.
  • For beneficiaries who will be in executive or managerial positions, their stay in the United States with the L non-immigrant status must not have exceeded the seven-year limit.

L-1 work visas are a good way for companies with an affiliate or subsidiary in Canada to fill positions in their company. This visa allows them to get around the long delays they would face in obtaining a work visa for an employee in other countries.

However, it is necessary to remember that there is still much paperwork involved in hiring foreign nationals for a new position, such as Form I-9. Completing this form can be more complicated for foreign nationals due to the many documents they may present. The easiest way to complete this form is to use an I-9 management system. This system will guide hiring personnel through the entire process and safely and securely store the form for easy retrieval.

Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9 Compliance.