I-94 Record Goes Alphanumeric

The I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record Card that the United States government uses to keep track of the arrivals and departures of foreign nationals. Beginning May 2019, CBP is no longer using the 11-digit long number for the I-94 and is instead switching to alphanumeric I-94 numbers. The number will remain 11 characters, but will follow the format of 9 digits, followed by a letter in the 10thposition, and a digit in the 11thposition. Foreign visitors no longer need to complete the paper I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record. The CBP arrival/departure record can be accessed and retrieved online through the CBP.gov website. A paper form I-94 will still be issued at land border ports of entry. All paper I-94 forms must be surrendered upon departure. For automatic I-94 forms, CBP will record the departure electronically. If you are coming to the United States and have questions about the electronic I-94 form, be sure to contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!
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CBP to Launch New Online System for Filing Nonimmigrant Waiver Applications

On May 30, 2019, CBP announced that a new online system, known as e-SAFE, will be launched in mid-2019 for electronic filing of Forms I-192 and I-212. This system allows eligible nonimmigrants, who do not require a visa to enter the United States, to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility via Forms I-192 and I-212. Advantages of applying online: Applicants can view their application status; Applicants can receive electronic communication; Applicants can submit additional information upon request, and Applicants can receive electronic notification of a decision in near real time. e-SAFE will accept online application payments and all supporting documents. Once the application is paid and submitted, the applicant will receive an electronic receipt of the application, and notification that he or she has 45 days to report to a CPB e-SAFE designated port of entry to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) to complete the application. The list of locations currently processing electronic filings is limited as of now and includes: Peace Bridge, New York Lewiston Bridge, New York Rainbow Bridge, New York Peace Arch, Washington Pacific Highway, Washington Point Roberts, Washington Toronto Pearson International Airport Other locations will be added gradually. The paper filing is still an alternative […]
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Breaking News: Certain Ports of Entry No Longer Allowing L-1 Renewal Applications for Canadian Citizens

Berardi Immigration Law has recently learned that certain ports of entry along the Canadian border are now refusing to process petitions for renewal L-1 applications that are presented by Canadians pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This new policy affects both individual and blanket L petitions.  Initial reports indicated that this was a problem only at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) locations near Calgary. However, it has since expanded throughout several ports of entry and preclearance locations including Toronto Pearson International Airport (preclearance), Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (preclearance), Edmonton, Seattle, Pembina, Warroad, Pt. Roberts, Sumas, and more. Over the weekend, we have been informed that the Peace Bridge located in Buffalo, New York is now also enforcing this policy. This impacts all ports of entry under the Buffalo jurisdiction, including the Rainbow Bridge, Queenston/Lewiston Bridge, and Thousand Islands Bridge and all ports of entry on the northern New York/Canadian border. All L-1 renewal petitions for Canadians must now be submitted directly to USCIS for adjudication. The ports of entry that are refusing to process these petitions are relying on a section of the regulations (8 CFR §214.2(l)(15)(i)), which state that petition extensions […]
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Government Shutdown’s Continued Impact on Immigration

The government shutdown that began in December 2018 has become the longest U.S. government shutdown in history and is having some major impacts on immigration processing. Customs and Border Protection officers are considered essential staff due to the important role they play in national security at the U.S. border and ports of entry. This ultimately means that processing at ports of entry is occurring as usual. TNs and L-1 visas continue to be processed at ports of entry despite the shutdown, as officers are still adjudicating them. It is important to remember that while CBP officers are still working, they are not being compensated for their work at the present. Fortunately, they will be reimbursed once the shutdown ends, but it is still important to keep in mind when crossing the border and interacting with officers.  Unfortunately, other immigration-related areas are being impacted; specifically, the Admissibility Review Office. The Admissibility Review Office (ARO) is a subset of CBP that processes waiver applications. This office is not considered essential for government shutdown purposes and is not active until a federal budget is passed. This means that, at present, no Applications for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant for Canadians at the […]
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New Canadian Law Will Make Travel to Canada with a Past DUI More Difficult

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada, the Canadian government is cracking down on driving violations that occur while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. New legislation is scheduled to take effect on December 18, 2018 and will have a major impact on visitors to Canada.  Under current law, non-Canadians who have ever been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence may be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada and denied entry. This is regardless of whether the offense is a misdemeanor or felony. While United States law differentiates the severity of certain offenses in determining criminality, Canadian law does not in this context. The consequences of the current law are harsh; however, after 10 years without any additional offenses, individuals are deemed rehabilitated. This means they are able to enter Canada with no additional paperwork, fees or waivers.  After December 18th, the consequences of driving while under the influence will be even more severe. Individuals will no longer be considered rehabilitated, even after a 10-year period with no new offenses. According to Correctional Service Canada, anyone who has already been deemed rehabilitated prior to the new legislation taking effect will not be affected and can continue to […]
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USCIS and CBP Extend Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants

Earlier this year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) California Service Center (CSC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Blaine, Washington, port of entry (POE) announced a new pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 nonimmigrant status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The program was designed to evaluate how long USCIS needs to adjudicate these petitions and whether USCIS can support CBP through remote adjudications. The ultimate goal of this program is to increase consistency in adjudication of L-1 petitions and facilitate the adjudication and admission process of Canadians traveling to the United States as L-1 nonimmigrants.  This program allows, but does not require, Canadian citizens to request that USCIS remotely adjudicate their petitioning employer’s Form I-129 or I-129S prior to their arrival or when they arrive at the Blaine POE. In order to participate in this program, petitioners must file Form I-129 or I-129S as well as supporting evidence and documents with the CSC. Next, USCIS will receive fees, issue a receipt notice, and adjudicate the Form I-129 or I-129S. If additional evidence is necessary, USCIS will issue a request of evidence (RFE) to the petitioner.  Originally, the pilot program was only set to […]
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Have a DWI or DUI? Canada’s Upcoming Impaired Driving Act Could Impact You at the Border

The recreational use of marijuana will be legalized in Canada beginning October 17, 2018. Naturally, this raises a number of public safety concerns, one in particular being the dangers associated with impaired driving. Greater access to the drug could result in more people driving under the influence. The Canadian government has responded to this concern with the passage of the Impaired Driving Act, which imposes tougher penalties for individuals found guilty of impaired driving in Canada. The maximum penalty for such a charge will increase from five years behind bars to ten. Not only will this new law make DUI a serious criminal offense north of the border, it will also have the effect of banning a greater number of American citizens from entering the country.  Currently, a DUI is deemed a “criminal offense;” this means an individual with a sole DUI would be criminally inadmissible to Canada for five years, but could then apply for individual rehabilitation. That same individual could also just wait ten years, at which point he or she would simply be deemed rehabilitated. In other words, under the current system, an individual with a sole DUI would not be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada ten […]
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