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Restrictions at the Northern Border Continue Restrictions at the Northern Border Continue

Restrictions at the Northern Border Continue

The unannounced change in policy implemented by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as discussed in our previous article, has now spread across the U.S. / Canada border and preclearance sites. Despite longstanding regulations, CBP across the northern border is now refusing to adjudicate requests for readmission of L-1 visa status for Canadian specialty workers pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). CBP is taking the position that all petitions to extend/renew L-1 visa status should not be adjudicated at CBP ports of entry and preclearance sites. Instead, individuals seeking readmission under an individual (I-129) or Blanket L (I-129S) petition must file these petitions with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

According to American Immigration Lawyer's Association's (AILA) discussion with CBP, the unannounced policy does not apply to individuals applying for intermittent/commuter L-1 status, because these petitions are neither considered initial cases nor extensions. Individuals who reside in Canada and commute to the United States to work in L-1 status for less than 50% of their time are not subject to time limitations in L status. Thus, they can continue to apply for intermittent/commuter L-1 status at the northern border. CBP is also continuing to adjudicate initial L-1 petitions, per normal practice.

If you are seeking renewal of your L-1 status, please discuss your options with qualified immigration counsel. For questions regarding L-1 visa program or any other immigration needs, please contact Jenifer M. Brown or Christl Glier.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.

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