Canadians moving to the US to work and live.
Tens of thousands of Canadian citizens move to the United States each year for employment and or retirement. However, as a Canadian, you do need a valid visa in order to lawfully live in the US whether you’re retired or employed.
As immigrants ourselves to the United States we understand the issues that Canadians encounter when crossing the border, applying for visas, finding employment in a new country, and relocating. It is a stressful time in your life and having your visa matters go smoothly is extremely important.
Thankfully there are several categories of U.S. visas that Canadians are eligible for so they may live and work in the United States.
Listed below you will find some of the common Visas available to Canadians:
- TN VISAS FOR CANADIAN PROFESSIONALS
- E-2 Treaty Investor
- H-1B VISA
- O-1 Visa: Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
- L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
- P-1B Visa for Entertainment Groups
- EB-5 INVESTOR VISA
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and
trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN
nonimmigrant classification permits qualified and Canadian citizens to
seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at
a professional level.
Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN
nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if:
You are a citizen of Canada
Your profession qualifies under the regulations
The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional
You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment – see documentation required below)
You have the qualifications of the profession
To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:
Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.
An investment is the treaty investor’s placing of capital, including
funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.
The H-1B visa category is available for individuals employed in the United States in a “specialty occupation.” A specialty occupation requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specialized field of knowledge as a minimum for entry into the occupation. The job being filled must require the degree held by the foreign worker.
Specialty occupations include fashion models, graphic designers, fashion designers, accounting, architecture, engineering, law, and various other types of jobs. The education of the foreign worker does not need to be gained in the United States. If the foreign worker’s education was obtained abroad, a credentials evaluation can be done to show that the education is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher. The U.S. employer must be willing to pay the prevailing wage and offer the same job conditions as those in place for U.S. workers.
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
The O visa is separated into different categories and has slightly different criteria and requirements depending on the type of extraordinary ability and work to be performed.
The O-1A visa is intended for those individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including those working in the arts, motion pictures or television industry).
BENEFITS OF THE “O” VISA
You can enter the U.S. and accept employment in a position which requires people of extraordinary ability.
You do not have to maintain a foreign residence and show intent to return to your home country while applying for the visa.
Your dependents can stay with you as long as you maintain your O1 status. They can also attend school.
You can freely travel in and out of the U.S. provided you have a valid visa.
The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive
or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
The P-1B visa applies to those foreign nationals who are coming to the United States temporarily to perform with or is an integral part of an entertainment group that is internationally recognized as outstanding for a sustained and substantial period of time. P-1B beneficiaries must show:
The group has been internationally recognized for a sustained and substantial period of time;
That 75% of the group members have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for one year.
BENEFITS OF THE “P” VISA
Your dependents can stay with you as long as you maintain your P1 status. They can also attend school.
You can freely travel in and out of the U.S. provided you have a valid visa.
The EB-5 Visa Allows You to Live Permanently in the United States
For foreign investors seeking the freedom and flexibility to live and work in the United States, the EB-5 Visa Program provides an excellent opportunity to obtain Green Cards.
BENEFITS OF THE EB-5 VISA
A direct route to a Green Card
No day-to-day business management
Permanent residency in the United States for you, your partner and any children under 21 (this is especially helpful when children are planning on attending a US university, allowing them to obtain a Green Card during their studies)
Live, work and retire anywhere in the United States
Become a U.S Citizen after 5 years of being a green card holder
No Quota Backlogs – There are many delays and backlogs for employment and family based green card categories but there is no backlog for the EB-5 Visa Investor category.
No Sponsor Needed – Foreign investors use their own personal funds and do not require sponsorship from either an employer or a family member.
The Different EB-5 Visa Options
There are two main EB-5 programs – the Basic EB-5 Visa Program and the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program.
Option 1 – Basic EB-5 Visa Program
This involves a passive investment of at least $1,000,000
In order for an applicant to qualify under the Basic EB-5 Visa program, they must meet the following requirements:
- Make an investment in a new commercial enterprise.
- Make an investment of at least $1 million into that enterprise.
- Lead to the creation of employment for at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.
Direct job creation only
The investment may consist of the contribution of various forms of capital, including cash, equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents. An investment amount of $1 million is generally the minimum.
Option 2 – EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program
This involves a passive investment of at least $500,000 made in a ‘Targeted Employment Area’ (TEA) within a Designated Regional Center.
The EB-5 policy management requirement is minimal in that the investor can be a limited partner and still qualify as long as the limited partners have a policy-making role. Thus, for those who are not interested in day-to-day management or running an active business, Regional Center programs offer a more acceptable inactive form of investment.
The investor is not required to live in the place of investment; rather, he or she can live wherever he/she wishes in the United States.
The EB-5 Regional Center program is ideal for the retiree or inactive investor due in large part to the “indirect employment” feature of this program. The Regional Center Program removes the employee requirement of the Regular program and replaces it with a less restrictive “indirect employment creation,” which allows the investor to qualify by proving a combination of 10 direct and/or indirect employees.