Client of the Month: Vicky Ghotra

Berardi Immigration Law is proud to have helped our featured client of the month, Vicky Ghotra, obtain an E-2 visa. Vicky is originally from Canada and he and his family have been involved in real estate from the time he was a child. This was a major factor that prompted Vicky to create his own company, 416HOMEZ Inc., which renovates and sells properties.  Based in Canada, Vicky was looking to expand and grow his business into the U.S. market. To do so, he knew he needed to find the right attorneys to assist with his case and determine what steps he needed to take. Vicky did significant research shopping around for an attorney. Ultimately, he decided on Berardi Immigration Law after hearing many positive reviews. The same sentiments were echoed even by officers at the U.S. border when Vicky entered the United States.  One of Vicky’s favorite parts of working with the team at Berardi Immigration Law was the prompt and consistent communication by email and by phone. Whenever Vicky had a question or wanted an update, the team was glad to speak with him. Having the support of Berardi Immigration Law took a weight off Vicky’s shoulders and allowed […]
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USCIS Issues Crucial Clarifications to L-1 Requirements

In accordance with President Trump’s Buy American Hire American Executive Order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is reviewing employment-based immigration programs in an effort to eliminate fraud and ensure adjudications are consistent. As a part of this effort, USCIS recently published clarifications for the L-1 nonimmigrant classification foreign employment requirement. An L-1 visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the U.S. Additionally, this classification allows a foreign company to send an executive or manager to the U.S. to establish an affiliated U.S. office. In addition to executives or managers, the L-1 category is applicable for employees with specialized knowledge. One requirement of the L-1 category is that a qualifying organization employs a principal L-1 beneficiary abroad for at least one continuous year out of the three years preceding petition filing.  In order to meet the one-year of continuous employment requirement, an L-1 beneficiary must first be physically outside of the U.S. during the required one continuous year of employment. There is a narrow exception for brief trips to the U.S. for business or pleasure. These trips will not count as interruptions to the continuous year; however, […]
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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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Breaking News: CBP Issues Memo on Canada's Legalization of Marijuana and Crossing the Border

On October 11, 2018, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a memo addressing Canada’s upcoming legalization of marijuana and how it will affect crossing the Canada/U.S. border. Marijuana will be legal in Canada beginning October 17, 2018. CBP has stated that U.S. laws will not change following Canada’s legalization of marijuana. Requirements for international travelers wishing to enter the U.S. are governed by and conducted in accordance with U.S. Federal Law, which supersedes state laws.  While medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana or the facilitation of marijuana remain illegal under U.S. Federal Law. Consequently, crossing the border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry in violation of this law may result in denied admission, seizures, fines and apprehension.  CBP has also given a formal answer to one of the biggest questions surrounding the upcoming legalization. CBP has stated that a Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the […]
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Breaking News: CBP Issues Memo on Canada’s Legalization of Marijuana and Crossing the Border

On October 11, 2018, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a memo addressing Canada’s upcoming legalization of marijuana and how it will affect crossing the Canada/U.S. border. Marijuana will be legal in Canada beginning October 17, 2018. CBP has stated that U.S. laws will not change following Canada’s legalization of marijuana. Requirements for international travelers wishing to enter the U.S. are governed by and conducted in accordance with U.S. Federal Law, which supersedes state laws.  While medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana or the facilitation of marijuana remain illegal under U.S. Federal Law. Consequently, crossing the border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry in violation of this law may result in denied admission, seizures, fines and apprehension.  CBP has also given a formal answer to one of the biggest questions surrounding the upcoming legalization. CBP has stated that a Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the […]
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Legalization of Marijuana in Canada and Possible Repercussions for Cross-border Travel

Earlier this year, Canada passed legislation that would fully legalize the recreational use of marijuana on October 17, 2018. As our previous blog posts have mentioned, while marijuana has already been legalized in some U.S. states, it still remains an illegal substance federally. Consequently, as these state and federal (and now Canadian) laws collide, we anticipate problems for foreign nationals crossing the United States – Canada border.  Despite the fact that marijuana is legal in some states, the border remains federal jurisdiction, patrolled by federally regulated U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. Under current legislation, CBP Officers have discretion to bar entry of a foreign national that admits to acts that violate the law, or if the foreign national is determined by an officer to be a drug abuser or addict. Canadians that admit to using marijuana effectually admit to a federal criminal act, and this can result in a lifelong ban from the United States.  A simple question like “what do you do for a living?” if posed by a CBP officer, could also be problematic for a foreign national that works with or invests in the marijuana industry, even in states where it is legal. Under the […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Amber Mac

Amber Mac(Arthur) is a globally recognized Digital Innovation Expert, and one of Berardi Immigration Law’s most recent client success stories.  Amber is a successful entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker and social media influencer. She has authored two bestselling technology books and is also a regular tech expert on major TV and radio networks such as CNN, CTV, Bloomberg, CBS and SiriusXM. She has keynoted over 300 events and worked with some of the world’s top brands such as Google and Nintendo. As a Canadian citizen and in-demand tech expert, Amber got in touch with us earlier this year seeking a strategy that would allow her to travel to the United States in order to maintain her business and speaking engagements. Amber explained that “with a rising number of U.S.-based work requests, we contacted Berardi Immigration Law to properly go through the visa application process.” Considering Amber’s extraordinary ability and accomplishments in the tech field, our attorneys determined that an O-1 visa was the best option for her because it would allow her to enter the United States and fulfill her speaking and business commitments.  Our firm immediately began the application process. “From the moment we contacted Berardi Immigration Law, they’ve been […]
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