How to Expand Your Business into the US

(Below is a transcription of this video)

Hi. My name is Michael Niren. I’m an immigration lawyer and founder of Today I’m going to talk to you about businesses who are interested in expanding in the United States.

Expanding Your Business into the US Through a L1 Visa

We have a dedicated U.S. visa team who specialize in processing all types of U.S. visas, including representing businesses that wish to expand into the United States. And generally speaking there are two main ways that our office helps business do this. One is through the L1 visa process. Now the L1 visa process is for businesses that want to expand into the United States, establishing either a branch office, and affiliate office, or subsidiary of their business outside the United States. For example, if you’re a Canadian citizen and you have a business in Canada and you wish to expand it and create an affiliate, you may be eligible for an L1.

L1 Visa Criteria

Now an L1 is typically issued to individuals who work for the company, either as an executive, a manager, or a person of specialized knowledge. And there’s certain criteria that has to be followed in order to qualify. So for example, if you are a manager, you’ve worked for your Canadian company, in this case we’re talking about Canada, and you have worked there for a year or longer and your company wants to expand into the United States and they want to transfer you to set up a new office or work in an established office, as a manager you may qualify. There’s also what is called blanket L1’s which cover a lot of employees who potentially wish to be transferred at once. So those are usually applicable to larger companies.

E2 Option for Expanding Your Business into the US

Now the other way, in addition to the L1, is what we call an E2 visa. This is for individuals who don’t necessarily have a business in Canada or who don’t want to necessarily expand their business into the United States, but who want to invest in a business either that exists or start up a business and an E2 visa could be appropriate in that case. Now an E2 visa requires what we call a substantial investment, usually in the range of $100,000. In some cases it could be less, where the individual will have to commit funds to that business and you have to prove that those funds are committed towards that business. Now in order to qualify for an E2 visa, you have to be a member or a citizen of what we call a treaty country.

For example, a country that has a treaty with the United States would be Canada would obviously be one. Places like Pakistan, there’re other countries as well. There’s a list of E2 treaty countries. You can go to our website to check that out. So the E2 visa could be very helpful for those kinds of individuals who wish to establish a business. Now they’re usually issued for a 5-year period, which is a good amount of time. You can always extend it. And if your business is successful enough there’s also the possibility you could apply for a green card base on the success of your E2 visa.

Are You Interested in Expanding Your Business into the US?

Generally speaking, there are two main types of visas that are applicable for businesses that wish to expand into the United States, or individuals who want to establish a business in the United States, and that’s the L1 visa and the E2 visa. So I hope this will give you some overview, an idea of what is involved and what options are available. So if you have more questions, if you’d like to contact us, please do so. Our website is and we’ll be happy to help you expand.

Contact our experienced team today, and let us help you with your L1 or E2 visa application.

Michael Niren

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 Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

  • Mira Freiwat

    Hello Devang,

    Thank you for your inquiry. I am sure that you have done some research on your own as well as have read the information about it that was provided on the top of this page. In order for me to give you an accurate response as to which Visa will be better suited for you, I would need more details about your present business as well as the one that you are looking to start in the US. You can send me an email informing me about your availability to discuss this further at I look forward to hearing from you as this is a big move, it is always best to be well informed and make an educated decision in both business and immigration matters. MF


    I have been running Gas Station business since 8 years in Canada and now I want to move to US. Same company will buy business in US, possibly wind up operation in Canada. Which catogary will apply L1 or E2 ? and which would be better?
    Thanks and I will be talking to you soon in this regards.
    Devang Thaker

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