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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Will a DWAI Conviction Bar Entry to Canada?

Recently, the rules surrounding DWIs, DUIs and DWAIs have changed in Canada, ushering in a new era of more aggressive enforcement. One of the most common questions our office receives is if a conviction for a DWAI will bar entry to Canada. The short answer is yes. A DWAI is treated the same way as a DUI at the Canadian border and there is no guarantee of being granted entry into the country.    This fact usually sparks a lot of concern, and also a fair amount of confusion, as a DWAI and a DUI are very different offenses in American criminal law. While it is true that New York criminal law recognizes a significant distinction between DUIs and DWAIs, this is not the case from the Canadian perspective. When an individual attempts to enter Canada, he or she is subject to Canadian law. In order to determine the seriousness of an offense on a criminal record when an individual attempts to enter the country, a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) Officer will equate the offense to its closest Canadian counterpart. Under Canadian law, there is no offense called a DWAI — there is only a DUI. Consequently, a border […]
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IRCC Confirms Rules at the Border Surrounding DUIs

On December 18, 2018, Canada introduced much tougher penalties for individuals with convictions of DWI, DUI or DWAI. The new bill, titled the Impaired Driving Act, has made impaired driving a serious criminal offense in Canada, whereas it was previously only considered a criminal offense. To learn more about this, click here.  However, since the change, there have been rumors of officers treating these charges differently at the border. Now, almost two months after the change to the criminal law regarding DUIs in Canada, IRCC has finally confirmed that officers have been instructed of the following: a) impaired driving offenses (including foreign) committed on or after December 18, 2018 would be considered serious criminality; and b) offenses committed prior to this date would continue to be treated as criminality (providing they were not convicted in Canada and sentenced to more than six months). Please note that as always, if an individual has more than one DUI or DWAI offense, this will be treated as serious criminality.  This is in line with relevant case law in Canada and provides much needed clarity to our clients.  Berardi Immigration Law is now offering DWI and DUI permits into Canada! If you have a DUI or […]
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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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Client of the Month: Jason Leithead

Jason Leithead recently worked with Berardi Immigration Law to obtain a waiver to enter the United States. In 1998, Mr. Leithead was deported from the United States and faced a 20-year to lifetime ban from entering the U.S. Upon returning to Canada and working for a logistics company for over 10 years, Mr. Leithead shifted his focus to his employer and providing for his family. Mr. Leithead also became involved in volunteering and giving back to the community. A significant number of Mr. Leithead’s employer’s clients and suppliers are located in the United States. In order to strengthen business relationships, Mr. Leithead hoped to enter the United States to visit with these clients and suppliers. In addition to professional motivations, Mr. Leithead also had personal reasons he wished to enter the United States, including visiting his family’s summer home and vacationing. He decided to reach out to Berardi Immigration Law.  Mr. Leithead was impressed by the team at Berardi, writing, “The best part about working with the team was their professionalism and guidance. Not once did I have any doubts.” Berardi Immigration Law was able to guide Mr. Leithead through the entire waiver process with confidence. He writes, “Berardi Immigration […]
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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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Visa Validity and Waivers

A consular officer may recommend a waiver for most grounds of inadmissibility under INA § 212(a). Some grounds of inadmissibility, however, cannot be waived, including INA §§ 212(a)(3)(A)(i)(I), 212(a)(3)(A)(ii), 212(a)(3)(A)(iii), 212(a)(3)(C), 212(a)(3)(E)(i) and 212(a)(3)(E)(ii). Regardless, waivers are only available to applicants that otherwise qualify for the visa classification being sought, and, even then, there is no guarantee that a waiver will be granted. The issuing process is up to the discretion of the consular officer submitting a waiver recommendation and the CBP Admissibility Review Office (ARO) in reviewing it. In considering whether to recommend a waiver, a consular officer will consider a variety of factors, such as: The recency and seriousness of the activity or condition causing inadmissibility;  The reasons for the proposed travel to the U.S.; The positive or negative effect, if any, of the planned travel on U.S. public interests; Whether the incident in question is isolated or there is a pattern of misconduct; and Evidence of reformation or rehabilitation.  Generally, with the exception of C1 and D visas, a consular officer will recommend a five-year waiver. If granted, that waiver will be valid for multiple entries, but it will only be valid for the validity of the […]
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