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Foreign Visas

Global business operations often require U.S. citizen, Permanent Resident or foreign national employees to travel to other countries temporarily for business or longer term expatriate assignments. Similar to the United States, other countries do have immigration laws. Whether or not a visa is required to enter a particular country will depend on the individual’s citizenship (country that issued passport), educational and professional background and reason for traveling to that country. The Firm has relationships with legal counsel in other countries to facilitate foreign visa processing, as needed.

NAFTA: A visa application for business travel to the lands contiguous to the United States (Canada and Mexico) typically falls within the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA provides for citizens of the United States, Canada or Mexico to apply to visit or work in those countries if certain qualifications are met. A list of the occupational classifications eligible for employment and the education (typically a baccalaureate degree) and/or experience (license or other work experience) is listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA. Employment under NAFTA may be granted in three-year increments in the United States. Entry to Canada or Mexico for a business purpose – to engage in the trade of goods, the provision of services, or the conduct of investment activities may also be permitted.

Canada: U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents and foreign nationals may apply to enter Canada pursuant to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada. This law, similar to the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, provides for several visa classifications for an individual to apply to enter Canada temporarily or to obtain Landed Immigrant status (permanent resident status) in Canada.

Mexico: In addition to the NAFTA employment, other visa classifications are available for non-Mexican nationals to visit and work in Mexico. A “FM-3” visa can be obtained for a business or technical visit to Mexico, but in some instances is not required for admission to Mexico. The individual may apply for the “FM-3” visa at a Mexican Consulate or in some instances for an FM-3 admission at the border. For a stay in Mexico for longer than 12 months, an employer or family member in Mexico may sponsor an individual for an “FM-2” visa. After holding “FM-2” status for 4-1/2 years, the individual may be eligible to apply for Permanent Resident status in Mexico if appropriate requirements are met.

European Union: U.S. citizens and some non-EU nationals may visit countries of the European Union which have executed the Schengen Accord (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden) for pleasure or business for up to 90 days without a visa. For a stay longer than 90 days or for employment in a Schengen State, a work permit visa must be obtained. In some instances the work permit processing may be completed through a Schengen country Consulate located in the United States, with subsequent registration with local authorities in the country upon arrival. In other instances, the work permit must be processed by the country’s immigration office. Often a medical examination/certification and police clearance are required for the work permits processing. A benefit of obtaining a work permit from a Schengen State (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden) is that the work permit can be valid for employment in another Schengen State to facilitate the “free movement and employment of people” within the European Union.

Singapore: For non-Singapore nationals wishing to engage in any employment or business activity in Singapore, a Work Pass must be obtained from the Foreign Manpower Employment Division of the Ministry of Manpower. The classification of the Work Pass will depend upon the activity the individual will be engaged in; and once issued, the Work Pass is valid for only for the employment, business, profession or occupation specified and for a specific time period (generally for 2 years initially with the options for renewal for 3 years). A Singapore business entity registered with the Singapore Trade Development Board must “sponsor” an individual for a Work Pass. This entity must also declare responsibility for all charges and expenses for the maintenance, repatriation or removal from Singapore of the Work Pass holder and any accompanying dependants (including possibly parents, parent-in-laws, spouse or children under age 21). Some dependents may also be eligible for employment authorization once in Singapore. All persons age 15 and older are required to complete a medical examination in Singapore upon arrival. A Temporary Pass may also be obtained permitting the individual to apply to enter Singapore for up to 2 months while the Work Pass application is pending.

Please check back at this page for additional information and updates.

Disclaimer: The information provided at is as a source of information and is not to be construed as legal advice, nor is it a solicitation for legal services.

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