Published by International Trade Canada
Intra-company Transferees are businesspersons employed by an enterprise to perform management or executive functions, or those which involve specialized knowledge, and are being transferred to an enterprise, parent branch, subsidiary or affiliated branch located in the United States or Mexico.
To qualify as a NAFTA Intra-company Transferee you must:
At a U.S. or Mexican port of entry, you must establish that you qualify as a NAFTA Intra-company Transferee.
You should carry with you Proof of Canadian Citizenship (ideally, your Canadian passport), a letter outlining the details of your transfer, and a job offer or contract for the position. This will assist in your inspection by U.S. or Mexican immigration officials.
The letter should include:
An approved I-129 (Petition for Temporary Worker) is required before you will be admitted to the U.S. as an Intra-company Transferee. While you may submit this petition at the port of entry, it is strongly recommended that your U.S. employer submit the petition in advance of your entry. You may also be asked to provide supporting evidence that could delay your entry into the United States. NAFTA Intra-company Transferees are admitted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the L-1 classification.
Canadians entering the U.S. as Intra-company Transferees, who already have a valid I-94 (Record of Entry Document) do not have to present themselves to US Visit stations when entering the United States. The I-94 is only a record of entry/exit and is not an actual visa.
You should submit form i-129 and supporting documentation in advance to an immigration naturalization service center in the U.S., depending on where the work will be performed (i.e. Vermont service center, California service center, Nebraska service center, Texas service center). Addresses and areas of responsibility are available on the USCIS web site and are also listed at the end of the section below entitled “how can i change or renew my status?”
You should carry with you Proof of Canadian Citizenship (ideally, your Canadian passport) and FormI-129. In addition, a letter from your employer outlining the purpose and length of your stay will assist in your inspection by USCIS officials.
Remember that your affiliate company must continue to do business in Canada during your stay in the United States.
The L-1 is generally issued for three years (one year for a new company). It may be renewed for up to seven years for a person employed in an executive or managerial capacity, and up to five years for a person employed in a capacity requiring specialized knowledge.
If you currently own and operate a business, and are considering expanding into the United States, you can apply in advance as an Intra-company Transferee at the applicable U.S. embassy or consulate. (See VII. Additional Information).
When applying for L-1 status to open or to be employed in a new office, you should submit your petition well before your expected date of entry. You must provide a detailed business plan showing that you meet the qualifying criteria, and how your expansion will result in direct local employment. Before your L-1 status can be extended, a review is conducted one year after entry has been granted to determine if you have met the business plan’s objectives. You can reside temporarily in the U.S. in this classification for up to seven years.
How can I change or renew my status?
You should use form I-129 to apply for an extension or to change your status. Please keep in mind that there is a fee for this service and that applications take up to three months to process. You should remain in the U.S. while your application is being processed. Leaving the country at this time may negatively affect the successful completion of your application.
You should forward your application for renewal of Intra-company Transferee status to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over your place of residence:
You can find a detailed list of which service centre has jurisdiction over each state on the USCIS Web site.
To work in Mexico as an Intra-company Transferee, you will require an approved FM-3 FORM, which you can obtain from a Mexican embassy or consulate in Canada, from a National Migration Institute office within Mexico.
You can also enter Mexico with a Multiple Migratory Form (FMN), which you can obtain at no charge from most travel agencies and airlines or at a Mexican port of entry. The FM-3 form is not issued at Mexican ports of entry. The FMN form is valid for up to 30 days. However, before starting work in Mexico, you must obtain an FM-3 form.
When applying for an FM-3 you must demonstrate that you meet the qualifying criteria as a NAFTA Intra-company Transferee. FM-3 forms are valid for one year but you may request up to four extensions of one year each before you need to get a new form. Please keep in mind that there is a processing fee for this service.
When applying for an FM-3, the following information will be required:
The letter from the company in Mexico must contain your full name and address, request an FM-3 Visa, and refer to the attached documentation. In addition, it should explain the purpose of the trip, the arrangements for payment, and the location(s) of work within Mexico. Also, make sure that you provide the information required to demonstrate you meet the requirements of a NAFTA Intra-company Transferee as outlined in the above section, “What documentation do I need at the border?” If applying from Canada, you must forward four copies of each document. An immigration office must validate the visa within 45 days of your arrival in Mexico.
If you are seeking an initial stay of more than one year, you will require an FM-2 form. The Mexican employer must submit the application for an FM-2 directly to the Secretaría de Gobernación, the Secretariat of the Interior.
If you wish to change your temporary residency status, you can apply in Mexico at a National Migration Institute office. If you are seeking an extension, you must make a declaration that there has been no change in the purpose or circumstances of your original entry.