Being an international law firm focused on business clients, our immigration practice focuses on employment-based visas and investor visas.
The following includes some of the most common work visas: L-1, H1-B and TN-1. For more detailed information on a particular topic, please access the embedded links to review the numerous online articles published by our attorneys.
The L classification applies to intra-company transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed outside of the U.S. continuously for at least one year in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity, and who will be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity. The L-1 classification requires clear documentation of the ownership and qualifying corporate relationship between the U.S. and foreign office. Notably, any time spent in the U.S. during the qualifying year is not counted in calculating the requisite one-year of overseas employment.
Employees seeking admission in a “specialized knowledge” role will receive L-1B status. Those who coming in a managerial or executive role will receive L-1A status.
Initial L-1 visa status may usually be approved for up to three years, and can be extended for up to a total of seven years for an L-1A (manager or executive) or five years for an L-1B (“specialized knowledge”). After the end of the maximum L-1 period of stay in the U.S., the candidate must reside outside of the U.S. for a full year before becoming eligible for another five or seven years of L -1 time. Spouses and children of L-1 workers are eligible for dependent visas in the L-2 classification. L-2 spouses can apply for employment authorization once they enter the U.S. in L-2 status.
The law prohibits the issuance of L-1B “specialized knowledge” visas when the U.S. employment is primarily at third party client sites if (1) the employee will be principally controlled and supervised by the client; or (2) the work does not involve the provision of a product or service that requires specialized knowledge specific to the L-1 sponsoring employer. Thus, the rules still allow L-1 employees to accomplish work at client sites when the employees remain under the L-1 employer’s full control and when the employer is implementing or using its own specialized product, service or knowledge at that client site.
NOTE: Employers are responsible for paying a one-time Fraud Detection and Prevention fee ($500) for each initial L-1 application.
Another popular visa available for foreign workers is the H1-B. Under this program, the employer can petition to hire a foreign worker on a temporary basis.
For a general overview of the program, please read our online article published here:
Once you have determined an H1-B visa is right for you, more detailed information about the key features of the program are available for you here:
TN-1 Visa Classification
The 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) carved out special treatment for Canadians coming to the US to engage in “business activities at a professional level” such as accountants, engineers, attorneys, pharmacists, scientists, teachers, and others.
If you are a Canadian professional looking to take advantage of this special program, please read more here:
TN-2 VISA CLASSIFICATION
Similarly, NAFTA created a special nonimmigrant program for Mexicans, known as the TN-2 program. The TN-2 program essentially mirrors the TN-1 program and provides significant advantages over the other visas available for foreign workers.
If you are a Mexican professional looking to come to the US for business purposes, please read more about the TN-2 program here: