Approval Period for I-192 Waivers increased to Five Years

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has announced that beginning around January 2017, it will approve both initial and repeat I-192 waivers for a five-year period. CBP is working to reduce the backlog at the Admissibility Review Office (ARO) and to increase overall efficiency. The ARO is the office responsible for adjudicating all nonimmigrant waivers. The only exception to the new approval period is for crew members, who may still be approved for only a two-year period. Previously, CBP’s Admissibility Review Office issued initial nonimmigrant waivers with only a one- to two-year validity period. This increase to a five-year approval period is great news for waiver applicants. If you are interested in applying for a nonimmigrant waiver, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!
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Holiday Border Crossing Tips

With Christmas only a few days away, thousands of people will be flocking across the U.S./Canadian border for the holidays. It might be to spend time with family or even just to do a little holiday shopping. Whatever the case may be, here are some tips to help you make your border crossing a little easier. Nobody likes to waste their precious time in traffic. It’s always smart to think ahead and check local government websites for crossing times. The Canadian Border Services Agency updates waiting times at least once every hour. You can access that information here: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html Be prepared for bad weather and road conditions. Nothing will put a halt in your travel plans like spinning out of control or ending up stranded on the side of the road. Check local news stations to stay updated on weather conditions or accidents to avoid. Remember to drive safely and patiently when the weather is not cooperating. It saves a lot of time for both parties if the driver of the vehicle and all passengers have their identification ready. When crossing the border the preferred form of documentation is a passport, but NEXUS cards and enhanced licenses are also accepted. […]
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How will a government shutdown impact immigration to the U.S.?

On October 1, 2013, absent Congress passing a resolution to continue appropriations provided under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, all but “essential” government workers will be furloughed and not allowed to work. So how will a government shutdown impact immigration to the U.S.? While there is still enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations, many experts are speculating on the impact such a lapse would have on immigration services.  Most agencies are preparing to mirror plans developed in anticipation of a government shutdown in 2011.  Many of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) functions will continue, since they are primarily funded through user fees, but following is a breakdown of possibilities:   ***Please note: the possibilities listed below are only speculation as official guidance has not been released*** Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS): will continue operating, except for E-Verify.  Meaning applications and petitions will still be adjudicated, but E-Verify, the Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States, will be shut down. Department of State (DOS): Only visa processing will be for “life or death” emergencies. In prior budget-related shutdowns, DOS has continued to provide diplomatic visas and said “a […]
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Beyond the Border Program Enters Phase 2

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released an updated notice regarding the Beyond the Border (BTB) Entry/Exit Program with Canada. The BTB program was created to expand CBP’s mission of protecting the U.S. borders while facilitating legitimate travel and trade.   The BTB program is divided into three phases: Phase 1 was a 90-day pilot program that tested the ability of DHS/CBP to match existing entry data to data received by the Canada Border Service.  This phase is now completed and all the information received from the Canada Border Service has been destroyed. Phase 2 is the current phase.  Here, the U.S. and Canada will exchange border crossing information about 3rd-country nationals, Permanent Residents of Canada, and Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S. at all automated land border ports of entry.  In this phase, CBP will not share information regarding U.S. or Canadian citizens, asylees, refugees, or individuals who are protected by the U.S. government victim protection program (such as T, U, or VAWA visas). Phase 3 is planned to allow the exchange of data between CBP and Canada Border Service for U.S. Citizens entering the U.S. and Canadian Citizens entering Canada at any […]
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Possible New "Toll" Fee for U.S. Border Crossings

Recent talks of the U.S. government’s interest in imposing a fee on passenger vehicles and pedestrians crossing the Canadian and Mexican land borders has generated heated discussions. The latest budget request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought funds to study the cost of collecting a new “toll” from people walking and driving into the U.S.  Not much is known about exactly what the fee would entail and it is unclear if it would be charged on traffic entering or leaving the U.S.  Also, unknown is whether border agents or independent toll-takers would collect this potential new fee. Both Canadian and NY lawmakers have indicated their opposition to any proposal, asserting that a fee would dissuade cross-border business transactions, discourage cross-border travel, and that the economic damage would outweigh any revenues generated.  They also implied that fees collected on the northern border would unfairly subsidize the government’s more expensive security operations on the Mexican border. A fee of this sort wouldn’t be the first one imposed by DHS – airline passengers in the U.S. already pay a similar $2.50 fee on all ticket prices.  At this point, while the proposal is only at the level of “conducting a study,” […]
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Possible New “Toll” Fee for U.S. Border Crossings

Recent talks of the U.S. government’s interest in imposing a fee on passenger vehicles and pedestrians crossing the Canadian and Mexican land borders has generated heated discussions. The latest budget request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought funds to study the cost of collecting a new “toll” from people walking and driving into the U.S.  Not much is known about exactly what the fee would entail and it is unclear if it would be charged on traffic entering or leaving the U.S.  Also, unknown is whether border agents or independent toll-takers would collect this potential new fee. Both Canadian and NY lawmakers have indicated their opposition to any proposal, asserting that a fee would dissuade cross-border business transactions, discourage cross-border travel, and that the economic damage would outweigh any revenues generated.  They also implied that fees collected on the northern border would unfairly subsidize the government’s more expensive security operations on the Mexican border. A fee of this sort wouldn’t be the first one imposed by DHS – airline passengers in the U.S. already pay a similar $2.50 fee on all ticket prices.  At this point, while the proposal is only at the level of “conducting a study,” […]
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If you ever enter the U.S. – you should read this!

CBP Moving Away from Paper I-94 Cards to Electronic Records CBP has announced that they will be moving away from issuing paper I-94 cards and will transition to a fully electronic and automated process to collect the arrival/departure information. Following 9/11, most biographic information on passengers is already collected in advance through CBP’s Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). The electronic system is projected to save money, time, and eliminate unnecessary paperwork for both the government and carriers. All passports will continue to be stamped. CBP recognizes that foreign nationals in the U.S. often need their I-94 card information for other matters, such as completing employment eligibility verification (Form I-9), applying for immigration benefits, or to present to a university to verify eligibility for enrollment. Therefore, travelers will be able to access their travel/departure record online and print out copies if required. The electronic I-94 records will go back for up to two years and will provide more personal security than a paper document. In making this transition, CBP will continue to work with government and private stakeholders on this matter to ensure they are prepared for the acceptance of the electronic Form I-94. The Current I-94 Card Process Currently, a […]
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