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Eligibility for a work transfer from British Columbia to the U.S.

There are occasions when an employee working in the Vancouver office of an American company is offered a promotion that involves a transfer to the company’s head office in a U.S. city. That typically prompts questions about visa requirements and eligibility. The L-1 visa for Canadians would be the appropriate choice. However, there are requirements for petitions to transfer from Canada to the United States under the L-1 visa.

Requirements for eligibility

Conditions to meet when petitioning for the L-1 visa include the following:

  • The U.S. company must have an established relationship with the Canadian company, such as the parent company, or an affiliate or subsidiary company.
  • The employee to be transferred must have been an employee of the affiliated Canadian company for at least one year in the three years immediately preceding the petition.
  • The petitioner’s new position at the U.S. company must be as an executive or manager.

After meeting all the conditions, U.S. Immigration will typically issue an L-1 visa valid for three years.

What if there is no existing parent company in the United States?

There is another option for petitioning for an L-1 visa. It involves a company in British Columbia that wants to send an existing employee in the capacity of an executive or manager to establish an affiliated enterprise in the United States. The following conditions apply:

  • The Canadian company must show proof that it has secured physical premises sufficient to house the business.
  • The employee tasked with establishing the U.S. office must have held a managerial or executive position for one year during the three years before the application.
  • The Canadian office must show that the U.S. office will fully support a manager or executive in the U.S. affiliate business within one year of obtaining the L- visa.

Those petitioners who meet all the conditions will typically qualify for an L-1 visa, valid for one year.

The above addresses some of the visa-related questions related to employee transfers between Canada and the United States. However, there are other aspects related to L-1 visas that are important to consider. Thankfully, experienced immigration lawyers can provide support and guidance for those with legal issues regarding their employment transfers from British Columbia to the United States.