U.S. and Canadian Immigration Law – An Overview

By Pushor Mitchell LLP

One of the benefits of being called to the bar on both sides of the U.S./Canada Border is being able to assist clients with both their U.S. and Canadian immigration matters. Some of the areas we are commonly called on to assist with are as follows:

U.S. Immigration

  1. E1/E2 Visas – these are investor visa categories that permit a Canadian individual or corporation to obtain a 5 year visa in order to purchase a business in the United States.
  2. Green card- these are spousal sponsorships involving a marriage between a Canadian and an American. The American spouse sponsors the Canadian spouse for their green card (permanent residency).
  3. Entry Waivers – these are required for Canadian citizens who have a criminal record and need to travel to the United States for work or for pleasure.
  4. TN Work Visas – these are visas under NAFTA for Canadian, American and Mexican professionals i.e., doctors, lawyers, nurses, social workers, teachers etc., wanting to work in the United States, Canada or Mexico.
  5. Renunciation/Relinquishment of U.S. Citizenship – We routinely assist dual citizens wanting to renounce or relinquish their U.S. citizenship.
  6. Legal Opinions on U.S. Citizenship – we have been retained to provide legal opinions on the issue of whether or not the children of a U.S. citizen, who were born in Canada, are U.S. citizens.

This is not an exhaustive list  and we can handle pretty much any other U.S. visa category.

Canadian Immigration

  1.  Acquiring Canadian Citizenship – we can assist clients who need assistance applying for their Canadian citizenship;
  2. LMIA Work Permits – Generally, in order for a foreign national to work in Canada, absent a Free Trade Agreement such as NAFTA, they must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment before being able to apply for a work visa. We can assist clients with the LMIA Application process and then with their work visa.
  3. Business Visitors – often times a work permit is not required to attend meetings or receive training in Canada and we routinely advise businesses and individuals on the scope of permissible business activities;
  4. Rehabilitation Applications – when a foreign national has a criminal record, they may be required to apply for Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) before visiting Canada.
  5. Spousal Sponsorship Applications –  where a Canadian marries an American citizen and they desire to live in Canada. The Canadian spouse sponsors the American spouse for their permanent residency.
  6. Start-Up Visas – This is a category of visa that applies to new business start-ups. It requires either an Angel investor or participation in a business incubator program, among other things, in order to apply for the visa.

If you are looking to live, work or invest in Canada or the United States it is a good idea to plan ahead and speak with an immigration lawyer who can help you navigate the issues that invariably arise in these circumstances.