I want to Expand my Business to the US. Do I need a L-1 Visa?

Q. I have a manufacturing business in Brampton, Ontario. I wish to expand my business to the USA. I am a Canadian citizen. My business has been running for over 10 years. Do I need a L-1 Visa?


A. Depending on whether you or your employees wish to actually work in your business in the US, you may or may not require an L-1 Visa. Further in order to qualify for an L1 Visa, the applicant has to either be an executive, manager or a person of “specialized knowledge” and has to have been working for the Canadian company for at least one year within the last three years proceeding the Visa application.  There are other requirements for L-1 Visas which can be found here.

L-1 Visas can fall under NAFTA for Canadian citizens which means you can obtain the Visa at a US/Canada port of entry rather than applying for it at a US Service Center. L-1 Visas are generally valid for one year for “start up” ventures and can be extended for a total of 7 years for executives or managers and 5 years for persons of specialized knowledge.  In some cases, L-1 Visas can also be transferred to an application for US Permanent Residence (Green Card) through he adjustment of status process.

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

  • qamar

    I have b1 b2 visa valid for one year. I am from pakistan. I buy used photo copiwr containwrs from usa and send to pakistan i have visited fivw times bwfore now i want to buy photocopiers and export to different countries like dubai
    Can i get visa to open an office in usa.
    L1 visa

    • Muga Rajbhandari

      Hello Qamar. We will need to know more about the details of your situation. I am going to suggest that you contact us to make an appointment to talk with one of our immigration professionals who will be able to plan the best strategy for you. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-416-410-7484 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Muga

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