L-1A/B Petitions for Canadian Applicants at Ports of Entry
L-1A/B Petitions for citizens of Canada have long been adjudicated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) within Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) at Ports of Entry (“POE”) along the U.S./Canada border. This process generally allows for one-day adjudication, with the applicant presenting the materials to CBP on the day of anticipated entry to the U.S. As background, the L-1A category is designed for intracompany transferees performing managerial or executive responsibilities, and the L-1B category is designed for intracompany transferees with “specialized knowledge.” The L-1A category allows for a maximum period of stay in the U.S. of seven years, whereas the L-1B category allows for a maximum period of stay in the U.S. of five years. Initial approval is given ordinarily for three years with an extension(s) available.
However, in recent months, there have been reports that certain POEs along the U.S./Canada border are refusing to review petitions for readmission in L-1A/B status that are presented by Canadian citizens pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This new policy seems to impact both individual and Blanket L petitions. Reports have been cited for POEs in Calgary, Buffalo, Peace Bridge, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Seattle, Pembina, Warroad, Pt. Roberts, Sumas, and others. CBP has been refusing to adjudicate these petitions and instead requiring that such petition extensions be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”). Typically, petitions filed with CIS can take several months, with expedited processing only available through CIS’ Premium Processing program.
As additional details become available regarding the above, we will provide regular updates.