The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 28, 2018 that, starting from 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 anymore. L-1 visas are a good option for a foreign company that seeks to send an employee to work at an existing U.S. company. To learn more about the L-1 visa, please click here. From April 30, all Canadians entering from Blaine seeking L-1 admission based on an employer’s previously approved blanket petition or seeking L-1 admission based on an individual petition must file their petition with USCIS first. The USCIS California Service Center will process these applications and, according to USCIS officials, the Service Center is expected to provide expedited processing of Canadian L-1 petitions.
At this point, the pilot program will only operate at the Blaine, Washington port of entry. CBP is expected to continue to adjudicate Canadian L-1 applications for admission at other ports of entry until further notice. USCIS indicated that the program could be implemented across the northern U.S. ports of entry, and may also extend to other immigration categories, such as the TN visa.
Once an approval notice is issued, the Canadian beneficiary may use it at any northern border port of entry to request admission. USCIS strongly advises applicants to wait for the approval notice before applying for admission at the border, although USCIS have indicated that applicants could bring the filing receipt to the border for entry. CBP would then contact USCIS to verify whether the case would be approved and then act on the admission request accordingly. More information will be provided as the implementation date nears.
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