Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Canadian L-1 Applicants at Blaine, Washington Ports of Entry

Beginning April 30, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will no longer adjudicate L-1 intracompany transferee petitions for Canadian citizens at the Blaine, Washington ports of entry. Canadians seeking L-1 status who wish to enter the United States through Blaine must first file their petitions with the USCIS California Service Center for processing. This will apply to both L-1 admissions based on an employer’s previously approved blanket petition and individual L-1 petitions. Once an approval notice is issued, the beneficiary may use it at any northern border port of entry to request admission.

It has been strongly advised that applicants wait for the USCIS approval notice before applying for admission at the border. However, USCIS has indicated that applicants could be able to bring the filing receipt to the border for entry, at which point CBP would contact USCIS to verify whether the case would be approved, and then act on the admission request accordingly. USCIS is expected to provide further information on the pilot program as the implementation date nears and HLG will provide updates as they are available.

Initially, the pilot program will operate only at Blaine, Washington ports of entry. CBP is expected to continue to adjudicate Canadian L-1 applications for admission at other ports of entry until further notice. USCIS also has indicated that the program could be implemented across the northern U.S. ports of entry, and may also be extended to other immigration categories, such as the TN!

If you are a Canadian planning to apply for admission at the Blaine ports of entry for an L-1 visa, you need to take the upcoming pilot program into account when planning your travel.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Change in Policy Regarding Educational Equivalencies for Border Cases

Customs and Border Protection has stated that they will only accept educational equivalencies prepared by members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES.ORG) for cases presented at the Preflight Inspection or Port of Entry. A review of their website indicates that only 19 educational evaluation services providers are listed including the Foundation for International Services, Inc. and World Education Services, Inc. But other equally reliable service providers are not. Membership to NACES is by application and requires completion of a rigorous screening and selection procedure, which includes a two-member on-site visit at the applicant’s expense.

Categories
Green Cards

CBP is “Optimizing” Processing for first-time Canadian TN and L Applicants

As of September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is optimizing processing for first-time Canadian TN and L applicants at 14 designated ports of entry including 4 preclearance locations. According to CBP, optimized processing will ensure a more efficient approach to processing the high volume of applications received every day. Optimized processing is only available at certain times for some ports. For a complete list and additional information, please see http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/canada-mexico-travel. We will see if optimized processing is good or bad thing and will provide an update once we have more information.

Categories
Green Cards

USCIS Announces proposed rule to increase validity of TN visas

The USCIS followed up on plans announced last fall to increase the vailidity period of TN visas from 1 year to 3 years. this would apply to both new admissions as well as extensions. The proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register shortly. Many IT cos. use the TN category for computer systems analysts.  THe USCIS announcement can be found below.