When companies have employees go from Canada to the U.S. extenuating factors may make the paperwork journey easier for all concerned. Thanks to NAFTA, time-consuming "mail and wait" types of procedures are unnecessary, as Canadians can get most work permits right at the border. With a carefully prepared application, INS grants the L-1, TN or B-1 I-94 permits on the spot.
The TN Visa is the quickest and easiest of the work permits and it is the best immigration benefit of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The TN is available to Canadian and Mexican workers only. Under the old U.S. � Canada Free Trade Agreement the designation of Free Trade Professional was known as TC (Trade Canada) and applied only to Canadians. TN status is available only to Canadians who are citizens seeking non-immigrant status to work in the U.S. and is renewable. A Canadian passport or Canadian Birth Certificate must be supplied. Canadian landed immigrants and non-Canadian citizens must apply for H-1B status.
To obtain a TN permit it is necessary to provide proof of a job offer in one of the many NAFTA categories, and proof of a professional level of employment. There are others who may not qualify for a TN Permit unless certain criteria are met. Self-employed professionals are precluded from obtaining TN status unless they can perform services for a U.S. entity.
The professional must be engaged in business activities at a professional level. The work activity stated must already have been prearranged to be performed for a U.S. company. According to the regulations, the employer may also be an individual. The nature of the work to be done for the U.S. employer by the applicant must be fully detailed in a letter from the U.S. employer, with supporting documentat ion. TN status is granted for only one employer at a time for a specific type of work. Multiple TN applications must be filed if there are multiple employers. The application fee is $50.00 U.S. plus $6 for the I-94 at the border. Canadians are given one year work permits in the TN category and they can be extended for additional one-year periods with no fixed limit on extensions.
TN permits are applied for by individuals. By contrast the L-1 intra-company transferee visa is the method by which employees of international companies work in the U.S. when they are being transferred to a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary in the U.S. (provided that they are managers, executives or specialized knowledge professionals). Individuals cannot apply for an L1 visa - your employer must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf.
The L-1 petition is a complex matter requiring many verifying details of the entities involved. The petitions is filed using two forms � the I129 a nd I129L supplement. Of course those forms will be augmented with more forms such as the DS-156 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) and form DS-157 (Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, for all male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45).
Documentation is required to verify the corporate relationship between the U.S. company and the foreign company (usually a letter from the corporate secretary, and the Articles of Incorporation of both), capitalization structure of the company (e.g. records of stock or equity ownership), a detailed job description and description of your unique knowledge to be used by the U.S. company, proof that you have worked in the foreign company for a continuous period of over one year in the preceding three years in an executive or managerial capacity, or were employed in a position involving specialized knowledge.
If that wasn't enough, the company has to produce copies of applicable business permits, licenses and registrations, evidence of establishment of a new office if that is the case, an annual report of both foreign and the U.S. company along with other reports showing the type of business and the financial stability thereof, and an organizational chart indicating your position in the U.S. company as well as the foreign company.
You will also need a copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page, along with two identical color photographs showing full face without head covering against a light background, your resume, and a copy of the petition submitted to the USCIS.
There are benefits of being eligible for an L-1 work permit: you can enter the U.S. as an L1 intra-company transferee and at the same time, lawfully seek to become a permanent resident; you can travel in and out of the U.S. freely while on a valid L1 visa; your dependents can live with you in the U.S. and your spouse can apply for a work permit and engage in employment by filing Form I-765.
The Human Resources department of a corporation would make all of these arrangements since the professionals are in a higher income bracket and wealth comes with privileges. If someone can qualify for an L-1 rather than a TN form there are many advantages in things like taxation as well. Flexibility is greater with the L-1 and processing is quicker when filed correctly.