Zach Ahlstrom, an Associate Attorney with Berardi Immigration Law, recently had a successful L-1B application presented to Customs and Border Protection at the Peace Bridge port of entry located in Buffalo, New York. The L-1B visa, unlike the more common L-1A visa, allows a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating directly to the organization’s interests from one of its properly affiliated foreign offices.
There are three basic requirements for an L-1B application. First, we must show that the individual was employed by an affiliated foreign entity for at least one full year of the last three in a specialized knowledge position. Second, we need to show that the individual is entering the U.S. to engage in a specialized knowledge position for the U.S. affiliated entity. Lastly, we need to prove that the individual actually possesses this specialized knowledge. For this application, we provided training manuals, a letter from human resources confirming the individual’s specialized training, and special training certificates that the individual received from training courses over the years.
Jennifer Behm, Partner at Berardi Immigration Law, recently had two successful TN Management Consultant applications processed by Customs and Border Protection at the Peace Bridge port of entry located in Buffalo, New York. The TN Management Consultant application is one of the most highly scrutinized categories under NAFTA. Unlike other TN categories, this is the only category that allows for five years of related industry or consulting experience in lieu of possessing a Bachelor’s Degree.
The first case was for an applicant who was offered a consulting contract with an actual consulting company in the U.S. We were able to prove that the applicant would be entering the U.S. to perform work directly on behalf of the consulting company. The applicant was approved for a full three-year period. The second case was for a client who had his own consulting company in Canada and had an offer to work as an independent contractor for a U.S. company. The client was being brought in to advise the high-level managers and executives in order to provide strategies. The client was approved for the full two-year period requested.
Associate Attorney Zach Ahlstrom recently had two successful applications presented to Customs and Border Protection at the Peace Bridge port of entry located in Buffalo, New York. Both applications involved a unique caveat to the B-1 Business Visitor category, allowing the entry of individuals performing voluntary services for religious organizations.
Typically, the B-1 is used for individuals performing very limited business activities, such as business meetings, trade shows, conferences, etc. Both of Zach’s recent cases involved Capuchin Monks entering the United States in order to participate in voluntary service programs. We were able to meet the four key points in both cases, proving that the applicants were both members of recognized or nonprofit charitable organizations, that the programs benefitted the local community, that the programs furthered a charitable or religious cause, and lastly that the programs did not involve the solicitation of donations. Both cases were successfully approved for the full period of the religious program.
Senior Associate Attorney Gabriella Agostinelli recently had yet another successful L-1B application submitted to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Peace Bridge port of entry located just a few miles away from our Buffalo, NY office. This client was applying for a renewal L-1B, seeking to obtain the remaining two years of validity she has available in L-1B status. There is a five-year validity period cap on L-1B visas. The L-1B visa is specifically for intracompany transferees who possess specialized knowledge of a company’s operations, processes, or products. This case did present one small challenge.
CBP has recently changed the rules surrounding renewal L-1 applications at the border. It was previously understood that any L-1 renewal could apply directly at the border. However, this has recently changed so that only intermittent border crossers renewing their L-1 status may now apply at the border.
An L-1 who lives permanently in the U.S. and seeks an extension must file their petition through the mail with USCIS. In this case, we were able to prove that our client was indeed an intermittent border crosser by providing a travel log detailing all of her time spent in the U.S., as well as utility bills showing her residence in Canada. Our client was successfully approved for a full two-year period.
Zach Ahlstrom, an Associate Attorney here at Berardi Immigration Law, recently had a successful L-1 renewal application presented to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Peace Bridge located in Buffalo, NY.
CBP has recently changed some of their rules surrounding L-1 renewals at the border. They now require proof that the L-1 renewal applicant has spent less than 183 days in the U.S. per year. If the applicant is not an intermittent border crosser, the application must be filed through the mail with USCIS instead. To prove intermittent travel to the U.S., we include such evidence as a travel log detailing the applicant’s trips in and out of the U.S. and evidence of ties to Canada, such as one year of utility bills or credit card statements.
This renewal application was for a Functional Manager who didn’t manage people, instead he managed an essential function within the organization. Therefore, we highlighted the applicant’s autonomous decision making and the impact of his decisions on the individuals of the company and department within this organization. CBP was satisfied with the evidence and approved his L-1 visa for three years.
Gabriella Agostinelli, Senior Associate Attorney at Berardi Immigration Law, recently had another successful L-1 approval at the border. She is sharing a few important tips that any L-1 applicant should follow in order to have a smooth process at the border:
Always apply early in the morning. The officers are often less busy and more familiar with NAFTA.
Be careful when choosing the correct port of entry when applying. It’s important to choose a larger port of entry because their officers may be able to demonstrate more experience in adjudicating L-1 applications.
If you find yourself at odds with an adjudicating officer during an interview, it’s important to ask to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor may be able to intervene and fix the issue that you are having.
If you hold a NEXUS card, it is very important to inform the Trusted Traveler Program office of your new L-1 status. It is important to reflect your new status when you are crossing the border, otherwise you are violating the status of entry.
Senior Associate Attorney, Gabriella Agostinelli, recently had a successful L-1 application presented to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry located in Buffalo, New York. This application was for an L-1 first time applicant. The applicant held a very high level executive position in Canada and would be holding the same role in the United States.
One thing that differed in this case was that the sponsoring company had not filed financials for about two years. This could make it difficult to prove the requirement that the company is doing business both in the foreign office and in the U.S. office. Instead, our office was able to submit payroll summaries for both the Canadian and U.S. operations, the company’s most recent tax return, and a letter from the company’s accountant confirming the company’s most recent revenues. The adjudicating officer was satisfied with these documents and the applicant was successfully approved for a full three-year period.
If you are interested in learning more about this visa category or have questions about it, please do not hesitate to reach out to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!