August Peace Bridge Recap
Once again, Berardi Immigration Law had a busy month representing our clients at the Peace Bridge port-of-entry between Buffalo, N.Y. and Ft. Erie, Ontario. Summer is an extremely busy season for CBP, and our firm was able to facilitate the L-1 and TN adjudication process for 16 clients successfully in the month of August. Two of our success stories are detailed below.
• Approval of an L-1 extension beyond the 5/7 year cap
One of the firm’s long-standing corporate clients provides Point of Sale (POS) equipment and management solutions for the fast-food and drive-through restaurant market. Some of our client’s Canadian employees have held L-1 status for more than 10 years since they are only intermittent border crossers. These employees enter the U.S. to provide managerial and specialized knowledge services to the company’s U.S.-based customers on an as-needed basis only.
According to 8 C.F.R. §214.2(l)(12)(ii), the 5/7 year limitation on L-1B/L-1A status (respectively) does not apply to “aliens who do not reside continually in the United States and whose employment in the United States is seasonal, intermittent, or consists of an aggregate of six months or less per year.” In preparing these L-1 petitions, we include a detailed travel chart of the applicant’s entries to the U.S. over the last year, 12 months of the applicant’s credit card statements showing regular activity, and proof of the applicant’s permanent ties to Canada, such as a mortgage statement. CBP approved the L-1 petitions for our clients, and they will be able to continually enter the U.S. intermittently over the next three years to service their U.S.-based clients.
• Approval of a complex TN Management Consultant petition
A few months ago, our firm was contacted by a global engineering and consulting group. The group had been contracted to provide consulting and engineering services to a steelmaking facility in Alabama. The firm’s Partner, Jennifer Behm, spoke with the company’s management about engaging a Canadian contractor who possessed more than 15 years of construction and project management experience, with a specialty in the industrial and steel sector. Our client wished to engage this contractor for a temporary period to consult on the project. This candidate did not possess a bachelor’s degree, nor was he an employee of the engineering firm.
Given these limiting factors, Ms. Behm advised that the best option for his immediate engagement on the project would be for him to obtain TN status as a Management Consultant. She prepared a detailed support letter explaining the candidate’s hands-off consulting role. The engineering firm confirmed that the contractor’s role was to utilize his expertise, identify best practices to achieve goals within the project timeline, review current project plans, and recommend more efficient systems and methods to fulfill the contract and ensure project deliverables. Upon presenting the petition to CBP, the government questioned the candidate to confirm that he would not be managing the project team nor perform hands-on construction or engineering work. CBP also reviewed the candidate’s experience confirmation letters, which served as evidence of his qualifications under NAFTA in lieu of possessing a bachelor’s degree. The application was approved on-the-spot for the full period of time requested.
Our attorneys meet dozens of clients at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo to assist in the application process for a visa under the NAFTA category. If you are interested in applying for a TN or L-1 visa, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!