What Are the Best Visa Options to the US for Canadians?
Are you a Canadian citizen looking to relocate to the United States? If that’s the case, you’ll require a visa.
There are numerous visa alternatives, but which ones are the US visa options for Canadians? In this article, we’ll go through the E-2 visa, E-1 visa, EB-5 visa, and L-1 visa in depth, as well as why they’d be beneficial to Canadians.
Moving to a new country might be thrilling, but it can also be difficult, particularly acquiring a visa. There are various visa alternatives available for Canadian citizens looking to relocate to the United States.
However, determining which one is appropriate for your scenario can be challenging. In this blog post, we’ll look at four of Canada’s most popular visa options: the E-2 visa, E-1 visa, EB-5 visa, and L-1 visa.
E-2 Visa for Canadian Citizens
The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows visa applicants to invest in and run businesses in the United States. You must be a citizen of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States, which includes Canada, to be eligible for this visa.
The Benefits of the E-2 Visa
One of the most significant benefits of the E-2 visa is that there is no minimum investment amount necessary, albeit the investment must be large. Furthermore, this visa allows for limitless renewals, which means you can stay in the United States as long as you meet the visa conditions.
The disadvantages of the E-2 visa
One of the most significant disadvantages of the E-2 visa is that it is a non-immigrant visa, which means it does not provide a road to permanent status in the United States. Furthermore, the visa is linked to the firm, which means that if the business fails, the visa holder may be forced to leave the United States.
E-1 Visa Category
Another non-immigrant visa available to Canadian citizens is the E-1 visa. This visa is intended for people who do substantial trade between the United States and their home country.
The Advantages of the E-1 Visa
The E-1 visa, like the E-2 visa, permits for unlimited renewals and has no minimum investment requirement. This visa also provides a path to permanent residency in the United States, which is a substantial benefit.
The disadvantages of the E-1 visa
One of the biggest disadvantages of the E-1 visa is that it is only available to those who do significant trade between the United States and their native country. This means that if you don’t do a lot of business with the US, you might not be able to get this visa.
EB-5 Visa Category
The EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa for those who want to engage in a new business enterprise in the United States. To qualify for this visa, you must invest at least $1.025 million in a new commercial venture, albeit this requirement is reduced to $800,000 if the investment is done in a designated employment region.
The Advantages of the EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 visa provides a path to permanent residency in the United States, which is a substantial benefit for people who want to live in the country long-term. This visa also allows the visa holder’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to get green cards.
Disadvantages of the EB-5 Visa
While the EB-5 visa provides a straight road to a green card and eventually citizenship, there are certain disadvantages to consider. Here are a few examples:
- High investment requirement: The EB-5 visa requires a minimum investment of $800,000 or $1.8 million, depending on the location of the investment. This is a substantial sum of money that may not be affordable for everyone.
- Requirement for job creation: The EB-5 visa mandates that the investment produce at least ten full-time jobs in the United States. This might be a difficult criterion to achieve, particularly for smaller enterprises.
- Waiting period: Because there are a limited number of visas available each year and demand is high, there is frequently a lengthy waiting period for EB-5 visas.
L-1 Visa Category
The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows Canadian citizens who work for a multinational corporation to shift to a subsidiary, parent, branch, or affiliate in the United States. This visa is an ideal alternative for Canadians who desire to work temporarily in the United States.
The Benefits of the L-1 Visa
The L-1 visa has various advantages, including:
- A relatively low investment required (generally in the range of $50,000, but this depends on numerous factors).
- Unlike the E-2 and EB-5 visas, the L-1 visa does not require any minimum investment.
- The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa with the option of dual intent. This means that while on the L-1 visa, the candidate can apply for a green card without risking their present status.
- Work authorisation is available to spouses of L-1 visa holders, which can be a considerable benefit for families.
The disadvantages of the L-1 visa
There are various disadvantages to the L-1 visa that prospective applicants should be aware of:
- Only employees of multinational corporations are eligible for the L-1 visa. This visa option is not available to Canadian applicants who do not work for a global corporation.
- The L-1 visa can be renewed for a total of seven years for L-1A visas and five years for L-1B visas. This period may not be long enough for those who wish to remain in the United States permanently.
- Because the L-1 visa is tied to a specific company in the United States, the candidate may have restricted career choices if their position is removed or the company goes out of business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers on the best visa alternatives for Canadians who want to work in the United States:
How long may I stay in the United States with an E-2 visa?
The E-2 visa allows Canadians to stay in the United States for up to two years at a time and is renewable indefinitely.
Do I have to invest a particular amount of money to be eligible for an E-2 visa?
To qualify for the E-2 visa, you must make a “substantial” investment in a U.S. business, but there is no stated minimum investment amount. However, we generally recommend investing $100,000 or more in an E-2 business. However, the entire amount does not need to be spent prior to filing.
Can I travel with my husband and children on an E-2 visa?
On an E-2 visa (or any non-immigrant visa for that matter), you can bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Can I apply for an EB-5 visa if I lack the required investment amount?
No, the investment criterion of at least $800,000 for the EB-5 visa is a strict requirement with no exceptions. If you don’t have this amount, an E-2 or L-1 might be better alternatives.
Can I apply for an L-1 visa if I work for a Canadian company that conducts business in the United States?
Yes, the L-1 is a possible option if you have worked for no less than one year for the Canadian business, and they are planning to transfer you to their affiliate in the United States. It doesn’t matter how long the U.S. affiliate has been in business for you to apply for the L-1.
How long may I stay in the United States on an L-1 visa?
The L-1 visa is originally valid for three years if the U.S. company has been operating for more than 1 year at the time of filing. If the U.S. company has been operating less than 1 year, then the L-1 is initially issued for 1 year. All renewals are for 2 years each, with a maximum total stay of seven years for an L-1a (and five years for an L-1b).
To summarize, Canadian nationals who desire to work in the United States have many visa choices. The E-2, E-1, EB-5, and L-1 visas are all viable choices.
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