If you want to expand your business into the U.S. market or transfer your employees to the U.S. temporarily to perform services either as managers or as specialized knowledge workers, then L1 visas could be your best opportunities.

Basic requirements:

In order to qualify for an L1 visa, you must meet the following three pre-requisite requirements:

  • the employee must have been employed outside of the U.S. for at least 1 continuous year within the last 3 years
  • the employee must have worked either as a executive/senior manager or a specialized knowledge worker
  • your Canadian company must be the parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the U.S. company

Types of L1 Visa:

There are two types of L1 visa: L1A and L1B. L1A is for employees going to the U. S. to perform services in managerial or executive capacity. L1B is for specialized knowledge workers.

Evidence of qualifications:

The following documents should be included in your application.

  • proof of existence of the qualifying relationship between your Canadian company and the U.S. company based on ownership and control such as: an annual report, articles of incorporation, financial statements, or copies of stock certificates
  • proof of the employee’s required one year employment in the last three years such as a letter from your Canadian company detailing the employee’s period of employment, job duties and qualifications, along with the supporting documents
  • a detailed description of the proposed job duties in the U.S. and evidence of qualifications.

New Office:

In the case of your employee going to the U.S. to set up a new office, the employee must have at least one year executive/senior managerial experience prior to the transfer.

Besides providing the afore-mentioned documentation, you must also provide the proof that a physical premise of the new office has been secured such as a commercial lease agreement and a business plan detailing the proposed nature of the new office, scope of the entity, organizational structure and its financial goals.

Note: the initial L1 visa for starting a new office is valid for up to 1 year.

Advantages of the L1 visa:

The L1 visa is popular for the following reasons:

  • Fast processing: Canadian citizens can apply for their L-1 visa at a U.S. port of entry and get a decision right on the spot
  • Long validity of the visa: L1A visas are valid for up to seven years. L1B are up to five years.
  • L1A visa holders can apply for a Green Card without going through the rigid Labor Certification process.


For assistance, please contact Maxcan at our office in Markham, Ontario. Ask to speak to Mary Zhang. Maxcan serves the Greater Toronto Area for in-person interviews but we are available by phone to anyone in Canada.