Immigration and Extreme Weather: What to Know

Natural catastrophes, such as extreme weather, can affect the processing of your USCIS application, petition, immigration request, or USCIS appointment. USCIS has the discretion to take the following measures, upon request, if you have been affected by a natural catastrophe or other extreme situation: Extensions & Changes of Status You may apply for an extension or change of status due to a special situation, such as extreme weather, that prevented your planned and timely departure. USCIS has discretion to take into consideration how the special situation prevented your departure. If you do not apply for the extension or change of status before your authorized period of admission expires, USCIS may excuse the delay if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control.  Fee Waiver If you cannot pay the fee for a USCIS service or benefit due to circumstances directly related to extreme weather or a natural catastrophe, you may request a waiver of the fee for certain forms by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or submit a written request to USCIS. Appointment or Failure to Respond to a Request for Evidence  If you have not appeared for a scheduled interview or appointment or did not submit […]
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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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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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