The non immigrant visa process
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The Non-Immigrant Visa Process. Ten Steps HR Professionals Can Take To Ensure Successful US Work Assignments. Overview. Heightened security requires thorough preparation, organization and presentation. Borders Biometric tracking Routine registration and fingerprinting for certain nationals

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The non immigrant visa process
The Non-Immigrant Visa Process

Ten Steps HR Professionals Can Take To Ensure Successful US Work Assignments


Heightened security requires thorough preparation, organization and presentation.

  • Borders

    • Biometric tracking

    • Routine registration and fingerprinting for certain nationals

  • Service centers and consulates

    • more scrutiny

      Increased information sharing between US and Canadian officials

Step 1 ensure that the hr department has charge of the immigration process
STEP 1Ensure that the HR Department has Charge of the Immigration Process

Establish an immigration process that makes HR the conduit for each business visit, assignment or relocation to the US.

  • Provide an overview;

  • Explain the basics

  • Find out if there is a spouse and/or children

  • Advise against (selling the house) until the US visa is in hand.

Step 2 provide the employee with a questionnaire
STEP 2Provide the Employee with a Questionnaire

  • Request the information necessary to start the immigration process:

    • Assignment purpose; and

    • Assignment duration.

  • Questions and answers about issues that could affect the immigration process:

    • Criminality; and

    • Prior immigration refusals

  • Keep a copy of the Questionnaire.

Step 3 request basic supporting documentation at the onset of the immigration process
STEP 3Request Basic Supporting Documentation at the Onset of the Immigration Process

Request the documentation so that you can:

  • Determine the type of status;

  • Estimate the processing time;

  • Avoid misunderstanding;

  • Verify the employee/recruit’s nationality, education and work experience;

  • Ensure that the supporting document is available.

Step 4 obtain information from the employee s new manager
STEP 4Obtain Information from the Employee’s New Manager

Managers are an important resource as they:

  • are familiar with the assignment requirements;

  • can provide valuable information about the position/employee fit; and

  • can make the difference in a marginal case.

The non immigrant visa process
STEP 5Determining the Best Non-Immigrant Status (Also known as The Who, What, When and How of Non-Immigrant Visas)

  • TN Trade NAFTA Professional

  • L-1A/L-1B Intra-Corporate Transfer

  • H-1B Specialty Occupation

Tn trade nafta professional
TNTrade NAFTA Professional

WHO Qualifies?

  • Canadian and Mexican professionals entering the U.S. on behalf of a Canadian or Mexican employer to fill a contract for services between a Canadian and U.S. company.

  • Canadian or Mexican professional either working a) for a US company in the US or b) for their Canadian or Mexican company in the US

Tn trade nafta professional1
TN Trade NAFTA Professional

WHAT can they do?

  • Duties normally associated with one of the listed professional positions e.g..:

    • Accountants,

    • Computer Systems Analysts,

    • Graphic Designers,

    • Urban Planners,

    • Engineers

Tn trade nafta professional2
TN Trade NAFTA Professional


  • Initial status is a maximum of 1 year.

  • Indefinite ability to renew.

  • Once employee or employer make any applications for permanent status, including filing a labour certification application, the TN status will not normally be renewed or extended. Change to another non-immigrant visa status is recommended.

L 1a l 1b intra company transfer
L-1A/L-1BIntra-company transfer

WHO Qualifies?

  • Those working as a manager, executive, or with specialized knowledge of the company’s products or services.

  • Those with a minimum of one year work experience with a qualifying related company outside of the U.S.

L 1a l 1b intra company transfer1
L-1A/L-1BIntra-company transfer

WHAT can they do?

Perform services normally associated with their position.

  • Executives-direct the management of the company, division, etc.

  • Managers-manage other managers, professionals, or a function

  • Those with Specialized Knowledge-perform duties relating to the specific area of expertise.

L 1a l 1b intra company transfer2
L-1A/L-1BIntra-company transfer


  • Upon initial entry, the employee is granted a maximum of 3 years.

    • Executives and Managers: Maximum of 7 years

    • Specialized Knowledge: Maximum of 5 years

H 1b specialty occupation
H-1BSpecialty Occupation

WHO Qualifies?

  • Those working in a “specialty occupation” : an occupation requiring the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge which requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, for entry into the occupation.

H 1b specialty occupation1
H-1B Specialty Occupation

WHAT can they do?

  • May work full or part time.

  • May be employed in more than one H-1B occupation and by more than one employer

H 1b specialty occupation2
H-1B Specialty Occupation


  • Initially up to 3 years, with an extension of up to 3 years available.

  • Maximum of 6 years for full-time employment, longer for part-time employment

Step 6 prepare and review the petition or application
STEP 6Prepare and Review the Petition or Application

An important procedural check and balance:

  • provide the employee and manager with drafts;

  • request, in writing, that they provide any needed corrections or additions;

  • keep a record of your request for employee and manager input and the responses; and

  • ensure that you are satisfied with everything in the package.

Step 7 prepare the employee for his or her interview with immigration officials
STEP 7Prepare the Employee for his or her Interview with Immigration Officials

  • helps the employee gain an understanding of the questions that he or she may be asked;

  • reduces anxiety; and

  • increases the chances of success.

Step 8 caution the employee against common pitfalls
STEP 8Caution the Employee Against Common Pitfalls

  • Pitfalls include:

    • Arriving at the airport or border at the last minute;

    • Assuming that the requirements applicable to a friend apply to the situation at hand;

    • Being unprepared for the interview; and

    • Antagonizing immigration officials.

  • When things go wrong…

    • Ask the employee to obtain the name of the reviewing officer, and

    • Remain calm.

Step 9 stress the importance of truth and integrity through out the immigration process
STEP 9Stress the Importance of Truth and Integrity through-out the Immigration process.

  • HR’s Role must be proactive:

    • communicate to everyone involved that compliance is not optional;

    • bring managers into the immigration process; and

    • stress the business rationale for compliance.

Step 10 post non immigrant process follow up with the employee
STEP 10Post Non-Immigrant Process Follow up with the Employee.

  • A standardize follow-up protocol:

    • helps you gauge trends;

    • provides an opportunity to obtain final copies of immigration documentation for your file;

    • ensures that the employee/recruit is brought into the existing 1-9 program; and

    • makes it possible to monitor the need for extensions and renewals.