The Types of US Work Permits
If you wish to live and work in the United States as a Canadian citizen, you must obtain a valid work permit.
There are two main types of work permits—immigrant work visas and nonimmigrant work visas.
Immigrant vs. nonimmigrant work visas
Immigrant visas are intended for those who wish to live and work in the United States permanently. Nonimmigrant visas allow foreigners to work in the United States temporarily.
Generally, nonimmigrant visas require a job offer or sponsorship from the American company for which the applicant will work. If a nonimmigrant wants to change their job while living in the United States, they will need to apply for a new visa. Immigrant visas may or may not require a job offer or sponsorship from an American company.
The following are immigrant visas that have a direct path to permanent residence in the United States:
If you have extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, business, education, or athletics, or you are an outstanding professor or researcher, you might be eligible for an EB-1 visa.
To qualify for an EB-1 visa, you must be able to highlight what makes you unique in your field. If you believe you are eligible for an EB-1 visa, speak with an immigration lawyer to assess your eligibility.
The EB-5 program allows qualified individuals to become permanent residents by investing in the United States. To qualify for the EB-5 visa, you must be able to invest, without borrowing, a minimum of $1.8 million (U.S.), and create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or immigrants authorized to work in the United States, excluding yourself, spouse and children.
If you invest in a high-unemployment or rural area, known as a targeted employment area, the minimum investment is $900,000 (U.S.).
If you wish to work in the United States temporarily, you may apply for one of the following visas:
The TN visa is only offered to Canadian and Mexican citizens under the USMCA and is the fastest way to obtain a U.S. work permit.
You can get a TN visa at the Canada-U.S. border once you have a valid job offer. You must present the necessary documentation, which border protection agents will review to see whether you meet the requirements. If you do, your TN visa will be issued right there. You can also apply for a TN visa via mail.
For the H-1B program, you must work in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation requires a university degree or its equivalent and theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.
If you work for a company in Canada and wish to move to one of its offices in the United States, applying for an L-1 visa might be your best option.
To qualify for the L-1 visa, you must be moving into a managerial or executive position or a role requiring specialized knowledge. Additionally, you must have been employed by the same employer for a year within the past three years.
The E-2 visa, like the EB-5 visa, is an investor visa. But you can qualify for the E-2 visa with a smaller investment, and the business requirements are less stringent.
Are you searching for a U.S. immigration lawyer?
If you are searching for a U.S. immigration lawyer to help you apply for a US work permit, contact us at Silver Immigration.
At Silver Immigration, we help workers, executives, and business owners secure status to live and work in the United States. We pride ourselves on providing quality work and giving each case the attention it deserves.