Immigration Bulletin – CBP Refuses to Accept Canadian L-1 Renewal Applications at U.S.-Canada Ports of Entry
June 4, 2019 BULLETIN TO ALL IMMIGRATION CLIENTS
In March 2019, United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) implemented its policy of refusing to process L-1 renewal (extension) applications for Canadian nationals at select ports of entry. Since its implementation, and although it began with only a handful of locations, CBP has progressively expanded this policy and has recently confirmed its official position that Canadian L applicants can only renew their status by filing an extension petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).
Based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) and longstanding policy, Canadian nationals seeking to renew their L-1 status were, until this year, permitted to reapply for this classification in-person directly at a port of entry or at an airport pre-flight inspection location in Canada. Once approved, the applicant could then return to the United States in renewed L-1 status on a same-day basis. This provided an efficient and cost-effective process for employers seeking to extend the stay of their qualifying employees.
However, CBP has now determined that the agency does not have authority/jurisdiction to adjudicate renewal/extension L-1 petitions and has, instead, advised that only USCIS can do so. As a result, all U.S.-Canada ports of entry and pre-flight inspection locations will no longer accept L-1 renewal applications for Canadian nationals. This policy applies to both individual and Blanket L renewal applications, as well as L-2 renewal applications for dependent family members.
Canadian nationals are still permitted to apply for initial L-1 status at a port of entry or pre-flight inspection location in Canada. Those applicants who utilize intermittent or commuter L-1 status are also not affected by the new policy.
What This Means:
For the foreseeable future, employers should plan to file extension petitions with USCIS for their Canadian L-1 employees. We will continue to monitor the policy and will provide updates accordingly.
Please contact any member of the Cohen & Grigsby Immigration Department if you have any questions regarding the above at 412.297.4900. To receive future bulletins and news alerts, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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