Pilot Program for Canadian L-1s Applying in Blaine, WA
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have announced a new pilot program for processing L-1 Canadian NAFTA petitions. This pilot program is limited to the Blaine, WA port of entry (POE) and is currently scheduled to run from April 30 – October 31, 2018.
Persons who choose to apply in Blaine, WA under the pilot program will submit Form I-129 and supporting documents to the California Service Center in advance of arriving at the POE with a cover sheet identifying the application as a “Canadian L.” USCIS will then process the application. The foreign national will utilize USCIS’s approval notice to facilitate entry or arrive at the POE with their receipt notice. A foreign national with a receipt notice will be required to wait while USCIS remotely adjudicates the L-1. USCIS has provided no indication as to the length of the expected delays that will be experienced during remote adjudication.
Those who wish to apply in Blaine, WA under the standard procedures may do so. However, the cases will be sent to a nearby POE for adjudication. No details have been provided as to how this will work in practice. Alternatively, individuals may prefer to directly apply at other nearby POEs that process L-1 NAFTA petitions, such as Point Roberts, WA, Sumas, WA or to pre-clearance at the Vancouver International Airport.
Importantly, these procedures may be indicative of broader changes to future L-1 Canadian NAFTA processing. Under the current regulations, Canadian citizens are permitted to seek L-1 admission at Class A POEs. Regulatory changes may need to precede broader implementation of the program. USCIS indicates it will consider stakeholder feedback prior to further extending the program. Feedback on the pilot program can be submitted to USCIS-IGAOutreach@uscis.dhs.gov.
Harry Gee & Associates will continue to monitor new developments. If you have any questions regarding the processing of L-1s along the northern border, please do not hesitate to contact us.