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Travelling to the United States on business.

One result of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been to make business travel between Canada and the United States easier. The purpose of this article is to discuss the legal requirements for Canadian business persons wishing to travel to the United States on business under NAFTA. A Canadian business person must establish that they qualify under one of the following categories established under NAFTA: a visitor for business, a treaty trader or treaty investor, an intra-company transferee, or a professional.

Visitor for Business

Business Visitors are business persons who engage in international business activities related to research and design, growth, manufacture and production, marketing, sales, distribution, after sales service, and other general services reflecting the activities in the complete business cycle, and receiving no remuneration from a United States source.

Treaty Trader

A Treaty Trader is a business person entering the United States to carry on substantial trade involving the flow of goods or services activities between the United States and Canada. Over fifty per cent of the international trade must be conducted between the United States and Canada, and the Treaty Trader must be a citizen of Canada. An employee of a Treaty Trader may also qualify as a Treaty Trader if he or she is entering the United States in an executive or supervisory capacity; if employed in a lesser capacity, the employee must have skills which are essential to the efficient operation of the business. Issuance of a non-immigrant visa by a United States Consulate office is required prior to entry of a Canadian Treaty Trader under NAFTA to the United States.

Treaty Investor

A Treaty Investor is a Canadian citizen entering the United States in order to develop a direct, bona fide enterprise in which he or she has made a substantial investment of capital and, thus, owns at least fifty per cent or maintains a controlling interest. The employee of a Treaty Investor who will be employed in an executive or a supervisory capacity, or has skills which are essential to the operation of the business, may also be classified as a Treaty Investor. Issuance of a non-immigrant visa by a United States Consulate office is required prior to entry of Canadian Treaty Investors under NAFTA.

Intra-company Transferee

An Intra-company Transferee is a business person travelling to a United States parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of a Canadian company. The person must have been employed by the Canadian company for at least one year out of the preceding three in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. He or she must be travelling to the United States for the purpose of employment, in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity. A petition must be filed on behalf of the Intra-company Transferee by the United States employer.

Professional

A Professional is a person who is a citizen of Canada seeking to enter the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level in the designated professions in Chapter 16, Section (d) of Annex 1603 of NAFTA.

A Canadian citizen seeking status as a Visitor for Business, an Intra-company Transferee, or a Professional may apply for admission at any United States port of entry without any visa. However, if they are seeking status as Treaty Traders or Treaty Investors under NAFTA, Canadian citizens must go to a United States Consulate office and have the records of a non-immigrant visa inserted in their passport or other travel document in order to enter. This is one of the few times when a Canadian citizen would need to present a visa at the time of application for admission to the United States.

A Canadian citizen seeking Professional status would present evidence of citizenship, a letter offering employment in the Professional status, evidence that he or she is in possession of the Professional status. and appropriate evidence of compliance with any state licensing requirements. A Canadian citizen may be admitted for a maximum initial period of one year in a Professional status.

For the detailed requirements to travel to the United States on business, please refer to Chapter 16 of NAFTA or seek appropriate legal counsel.

May Yu is a corporate commercial and immigration lawyer practising with Ogilvie and Company in Edmonton, Alberta.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd.
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Author:Yu, May L.
Publication:LawNow
Date:Apr 1, 1997
Words:710
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