H1B Visa for Canadians Step-by-Step Guide [2023]

H1B Visa for Canadians
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Editorial Team - HomeAbroad  by HomeAbroad Editorial Team

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Are you a skilled Canadian professional seeking work opportunities in the United States? The H-1B nonimmigrant visa might be the perfect solution for you. As a Canadian, you can take advantage of this program and gain work experience in the US that goes beyond the standard visitor visa limit.

Wondering about the requirements and steps to apply for the H1B visa as a Canadian? This article has got you covered! Explore the exciting working opportunities the H1B visa offers Canadians and learn how to embark on this journey to advance your career in the USA.

Eligibility Criteria for H1B Visa for Canadians

If they meet specific criteria, applicants from Canada can qualify for the H1B visa. Following are the requirements that you need to fulfill to successfully apply for an H-1B visa.

  1. A valid passport
  2. Job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialized field
  3. A bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field
  4. Labor Condition Application certification
  5. Form I-129

Those who meet the above criteria and fulfill the requirements can obtain an H-1B visa to work in the US for a three-year period, which is extendable. You must maintain your eligibility and meet the needs throughout your employment, as failure to do so can lead to dismissal or deportation from the country.

What is the H1B Visa Application Process for Canadians?

The process for Canadians to apply for an H1B visa is similar to that of other countries, but there are some differences due to the special relationship between Canada and the USA. Have a look at the below overview for a better understanding.

1. Find a U.S. Employer

You need to secure a job in a US-based company and find an employer willing to sponsor you for an H1B visa. This is necessary as the employer needs to demonstrate to the USCIS that the position being offered requires specialized skills and qualifications that you possess.

2. Labor Condition Application (LCA)

To file the H1B petition, the U.S. employer needs to first submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL). This application guarantees that the employer will pay you the standard wage for the job you will be doing in that particular location. Additionally, it confirms that hiring you will not negatively impact the wages or working conditions of U.S. workers.

3. Gather the Required Documents

If you are a Canadian, you do not need to undergo the labor certification process that non-Canadian applicants have to go through. However, you still need to provide documentation to demonstrate that you are qualified for the job, such as:

  • A valid passport
  • Form I-129, along with the H Classification Supplement to Form I-129
  • Academic Credentials (diplomas, degrees, or certificates, that demonstrate your qualifications for the job)
  • Work Experience Documentation (if required)
  • A detailed resume or CV
  • Proof of Nonimmigrant Intent
  • Financial Documents

4. File the H1B Petition

Once your LCA is certified, your U.S. employer will submit the H1B visa petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. This petition will require you to provide the necessary forms, fees, and supporting documents. The USCIS will then review your petition to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements for the H1B visa.

Note: Canadian and Mexican citizens don’t need to go through the H1B visa lottery process and are not subject to the numerical cap. This gives them an advantage over other applicants since their H1B petitions are not limited. Therefore, you can bypass the lottery process while submitting your H1B petitions directly to USCIS.

5. H1B Visa Duration

The H1B visa is usually granted for up to three years initially and can be extended for up to three years more, allowing a total stay of six years. However, if you have an approved employment-based green card application, you may be able to extend your H1B visa beyond six years, subject to certain exceptions.

Although Canadians are exempt from the H1B visa numerical cap, you must still meet all other requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s best to consult the immigration attorney at your company or seek guidance from the U.S. consulate or embassy in Canada.

H1B Visa Fees for Canadians

The H1B visa fees for Canadians is quite similar to the fees for foreign nationals from other countries, including visa application fee, fraud prevention fee, and ACWIA fee.

H1B visa fees for Canadians

TN Visa vs H1B Visa: Which is the Right Choice for You?

In addition to the H-1B visa, Canadians can also apply for TN visas. The TN status is available for a Canadian or Mexican citizen who wants to be temporarily employed in the US. It was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

TN visa holders, also called “Nafta professionals,” must have a job offer in the U.S. in an employment field that is on the approved NAFTA list. If your TN visa application is approved, you will be permitted to work and reside in the US for a maximum of three years. Additionally, your income will be subject to taxation by the US government.

TN visa vs H-1B visa

To sum up, both the TN visa and the H1B visa offer Canadians valuable opportunities. The TN visa is for specific jobs under NAFTA and has a quicker application process than the H-1B visa, which covers a wider range of specialized jobs. The appropriate visa choice depends on factors such as personal circumstances, job type, and employer requirements.

How is the H-1B Visa Different for Canadian Applicants?

The H-1B visa process is not the same for everyone. For Canadians, the requirements to apply differ from those of other international applicants. Here’s how the H-1B visa is different for Canadian applicants:

1. Visa Exemption for Entry

Canadian citizens are generally visa-exempt for temporary visits to the United States; this means that they do not require a visa stamp in their passport to enter the U.S. for tourism or short-term business purposes. However, for H-1B employment, Canadian citizens must obtain the H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. consulate or embassy before entering the U.S.

2. No Quota Limit

Canadian applicants for H-1B visas don’t have to compete with applicants from other countries to secure a visa since they are exempted from the numerical cap system that limits the number of H-1B visas available each fiscal year. As a result, Canadian applicants have a higher chance of getting an H-1B visa.

Learn about H1B Visa Lottery 2024

3. Exemption from Labor Certification

Canadian applicants have an advantage in the H-1B visa application process because they do not need to go through the labor certification process. This means that Canadians can submit their H-1B petition directly to USCIS without waiting for labor certification approval, resulting in faster processing times.

Canadians have some advantages over other international applicants when applying for an H-1B visa. They can avoid the labor certification process and have more flexibility in their stay. This means they can enjoy faster processing times and a longer duration of stay in the U.S.

How to Change to an H1B Visa from a TN Visa Status?

Changing from a TN visa to an H-1B visa allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to pursue a wider range of job opportunities in the US. This involves formally applying for an H1B visa, which is the same process as if you had never been approved for one before, and entering the H1B lottery.

To switch from the TN visa status to an H1B, you must go through a process known as “Change of Status” or “Consular Processing,” which depends on your current situation and location. If you are a TN visa holder seeking to switch to H-1B, follow these steps:

You either need to look for a new job location with a U.S. company or ask the same employer to sponsor you, to apply for an H1B visa. The job should require specialized skills, knowledge, or expertise so that the employer can initiate the visa process by obtaining a Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor to act as your H1B sponsor.

2. H1B Petition Filing

Once you receive a job offer, your employer needs to apply for an H1B visa on your behalf through the USCIS. You should ask your employer to file Form I-129 and the H Classification Supplement, pay the fees required, and provide supporting documents showing your qualifications and experience.

3. TN Visa Termination

When your H1B visa is approved, your TN status will end automatically on the day your H1B status begins. It’s crucial that you work with your U.S. employer and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if you intend to travel outside the U.S. during this transition period.

4. H1B Visa Duration and Extensions

The H1B visa is often given for an initial time frame of three years and can be extended for up to six years, based on your situation. In case your company sponsors you for permanent residence (green card), it may be possible to extend beyond six years.

It’s recommended not to quit your current TN-covered job until you get selected in the H1B lottery if your employer sponsors both visas. This is because if you switch to a new job location and are not selected, you won’t be able to work, but with your TN visa, you can still work for your current employer. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll be selected if you move to another employer.

What are the Challenges Faced by Canadians when Transitioning from TN visa status to H-1B?

The process of moving from TN visa status to H-1B status can be complicated for Canadian professionals. It entails grasping the variations in qualifications required for each visa type and managing the H-1B visa application, which includes dealing with the H1B cap and the LCA process.

1. Change in Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility requirements for a TN visa and H1B visa are different. TN visa has specific job categories listed under NAFTA, whereas the H-1B visa requires the job to be in a specialized field and the applicant to hold at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Canadian professionals who want to transition to H-1B status must make sure that their job fulfills the specialized field requirement.

2. Limited H1B Cap and LCA

To avoid difficulties, Canadian professionals should apply for the H1B visa during the yearly cap filing period because there is a limit to the number of visas available. In contrast, no cap applies to the TN visa. To fulfill certain standards, a certified LCA is required for the H-1B visa application; thus, Canadian professionals transitioning to H-1B status may face extra paperwork and time.

3. Dual Intent Limitations

TN visa does not allow for dual intent, while H-1B does. This means that H-1B visa holders can seek permanent residency in the U.S., but TN visa holders may raise suspicions if they apply for permanent residency while on TN status and are expected to return to Canada when their visa expires.

Also Read: H1B Visa: Buying House and Obtaining a Mortgage Home Loan

4. Impact on Work Authorization and Travel Restrictions

Switching from TN to H-1B status may cause a gap in employment if the H-1B application is approved through the visa lottery system. Moreover, traveling abroad during the H-1B petition processing time could affect your change of status. To avoid any employment disruptions, it is necessary to work with immigration services, attorneys, and your employer to plan international travel appropriately.

Transitioning to H-1B status requires employer sponsorship, and not all employers may be willing to sponsor or go through the H-1B application process on behalf of their employees. Finding an employer willing to sponsor the H-1B visa may be a challenge for some Canadian professionals.

Canadian professionals should consider consulting with an experienced immigration attorney to obtain personalized advice based on their specific circumstances. This will help them understand the requirements, timelines, and potential risks involved in transitioning smoothly and successfully from TN visa status to H-1B status.


In conclusion, Canadians can use the H1-B visa to pursue their career goals in the US. This visa type provides specialized work experience and the chance to stay long-term and exempts Canadian applicants from the H1-B visa lottery.

In case you are looking to transition to H1B visa from a TN visa you should seek assistance from immigration lawyers who can facilitate the transition from TN visa status. By taking advantage of this opportunity, you can broaden your professional horizons in the US and make a valuable contribution to its workforce.


  1. Is an H-1B visa available in Canada?

    No. The H-1B visa is a work visa specific to the US, and the application process is managed by the USCIS within the US. If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who wishes to obtain an H-1B visa, you must apply for it at a US consulate or embassy located in Canada. Because the visa is intended only for employment opportunities within the US, the Canadian government does not issue H-1B visas.

  2. Can you get an H1B visa without a job?

    No, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer to obtain an H1B visa. This visa is solely for employment and requires a sponsor organization in the US that provides you with a job in specialized occupational categories. To qualify for an H1B visa, your employer must submit an H1B petition to USCIS on your behalf, which must be accepted.

  3. Can a Canadian citizen apply for an H1B visa in the United States?

    Yes, Canadians can apply for the H1B visa in the US, as they are among the countries eligible for this visa category.

  4. Can Canadian PR apply for H-1B?

    Yes, Canadian Permanent Residents (PR) can apply for the H-1B visa. It is available to foreign nationals, including Canadian PR holders, who have a valid job offer from a U.S.-based employer for a specialized occupation that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

  5. Do Canadians need H1B visa stamping?

    Canadians are exempt from H1B visa stamping. Unlike citizens of other countries, they don’t need to get an H1B visa stamp for temporary visits and employment in the US.

  6. How long does it take for a Canadian to get an H1B visa?

    The amount of time it takes for Canadians to obtain an H1B visa can differ depending on multiple factors such as USCIS workload and application accuracy. The regular processing period for H1B visa applications usually ranges from a few weeks to several months. It is crucial to apply well ahead of your intended start date to ensure that you have enough time for processing and unforeseen delays.

  7. Is the 10-day rule for H1B visas applicable to Canadian professionals?

    Yes, the 10-day rule applies to Canadians as well. When your job ends, you are allowed a 10-day grace period to either find new employment or make arrangements to leave the U.S., during which you are not considered to be out of status. This grace period applies if the employer files for dismissal or if you resign. It’s important to use this time wisely and follow all immigration rules while in the U.S.

  8. Who is eligible for H1B dropbox in Canada?

    Canadians who previously held or are renewing an H1B visa may meet the requirements for the H1B Dropbox program. Generally, you must have a passport indicating H1B status and a valid or expired H1B visa stamped on or after January 1, 2008, within the past year. You also cannot have had any visa refusals or significant changes in your circumstances.

  9. Is there an annual cap for H1B visas for Canadian applicants?

    Canadians are not subject to the H1B visa lottery that applies to citizens of other countries. This is due to provisions under NAFTA, which provide special privileges for Canadian professionals applying for H1B visas. As a result, Canadians can submit their H1B petitions directly to USCIS without being part of the lottery system.

  10. Can Canadian professionals switch from TN status to an H1B visa?

    Yes, Canadian professionals holding a TN visa can shift to an H1B visa. Moving from TN visa status to H-1B visa status enables a Canadian or Mexican citizen to explore a wider range of job options in the US. The process of changing from TN visa status to H1B involves either “Change of Status” or “Consular Processing,” depending on the person’s current situation and location.

  11. How long can Canadian professionals stay in the U.S. on an H1B visa?

    As a Canadian with an H1B visa, you can initially stay in the U.S. for up to three years, with the possibility of extensions for a total stay of up to six years.

Editorial Team - HomeAbroad
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