Department of Homeland Security Publishes Goals to Ensure Security at the Northern Border

On June 12, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a document titled the DHS Northern Border Strategy. This document published findings of the assessment DHS conducted in 2017 regarding security issues and concerns at the U.S. border with Canada.  While DHS concluded that the Northern Border faced more limited threats compared to the Southern Border, there nevertheless remain some concerns. This document presents DHS’s three main goals, along with additional objectives and instructions that will help accomplish these goals. DHS aims to implement this plan in fiscal year 2020 and reexamine it every five years for updates. The Northern Border Strategy aims to safeguard the Northern Border against terrorist and criminal threats, facilitate the flow of lawful cross-border trade and travel and strengthen cross-border resilience. These efforts will be coordinated between federal, state, local, tribal and Canadian entities. DHS notes that the main concern at the Canadian border is the bi-directional flow of drugs, although there are other issues present such as active transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The first goal presented in this document is to enhance security operations at the Canadian border. DHS proposes to accomplish this goal in several ways. First. The U.S. and Canada must […]
Continue Reading

How to Calculate a Day for Immigration Purposes

Many immigrants and visitors to the United States are often unsure how USCIS defines a day. Although it may not seem like a major issue, miscalculating days either within or out of the United States can have major consequences for foreign nationals either immigrating to or visiting the U.S. It is helpful to divide this topic into two categories: nonimmigrant and immigrant purposes. Nonimmigrant purposes Nonimmigrants refer to people who do not wish to reside and work permanently within the United States. Some examples of this include foreign nationals visiting the United States as tourists or foreign nationals coming to the United States to work on a temporary visa. For nonimmigrant purposes, any traditional 24-hour period in which the foreign national spends even one hour in the United States is considered by USCIS to be one day.  This is something important to keep in mind, especially when making travel arrangements. For example, if a foreign national’s flight leaves early in the morning one day after the expiration of a visa, the foreign national is technically not authorized to be in the United States. In the same vein, foreign nationals run the risk of facing difficulties entering or traveling to the […]
Continue Reading

Addressing Travel Screening Difficulties with the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program

If you are regularly selected for additional screening or face other difficulties with security while traveling, you may want to look into the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP). TRIP is managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and aims to address these difficulties that travelers have experienced in transportation hubs or crossing the U.S. border. In the vast majority of cases, these complaints arise out of a traveler’s name or personal information that is similar to someone else in the government’s systems. This program is not meant to address mishandled luggage or other customer service issues.  People who have been denied or delayed airline boarding, denied entry into or exit from the U.S. or who have been repeatedly referred to additional screening are eligible to file an inquiry to seek redress for these injuries. DHS states that TRIP applies when you were denied or delayed boarding; if a ticket agent “called someone” before giving you a boarding pass; or if you were told that your fingerprints were incorrect or of poor quality, your photo did not match the travel document, your personal information was incomplete or inaccurate or that you are on the “No Fly List.” If these requirements […]
Continue Reading

Which Trusted Traveler Program is Right for You?

If you’re a frequent traveler and are tired of waiting in seemingly endless lines at the airport or customs, Global Entry, NEXUS and TSA PreCheck are some options you may want to consider.  Global Entry Global Entry is a program created by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States at certain airports. Citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. and several other countries are eligible for Global Entry. CPB conducts rigorous background checks and an in-person interview to determine an applicant’s eligibility. If an application is successful, members of this program can proceed to a Global Entry kiosk. Program members must present their machine-readable passport or permanent resident card, scan their fingerprints for verification and complete a customs declaration.   Global Entry has additional benefits as well. This program allows for expedited entry in a number of other countries in addition to the U.S. Global Entry can also be used for expedited land-entry through Canada or Mexico. You can also participate in TSA PreCheck as a participant of Global Entry.  This program is pricey, with the application costing $100 for a five-year membership. Holders of certain credit […]
Continue Reading

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 […]
Continue Reading

From the Desk of Rosanna Berardi: Have You Ever Smoked Marijuana? How Your Answer Can Determine Your Fate at the U.S./Canadian Border

The legalization of marijuana in Canada is scheduled for the summer of 2018. There is a lot of speculation surrounding how it will impact travel to the U.S. Experts are predicting that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will ask travelers if they have ever smoked marijuana in the past. Travelers must be very careful when answering this question. Our firm has seen CBP deny travelers entry to the U.S. if they answer “yes” even if the incident was 25 years ago. How is this possible? The current U.S. immigration law states that a person may be inadmissible to the U.S. if he or she has been convicted of a crime OR admits to having committed acts which constitute the essential elements of a crime. CBP has taken the last portion of this law and has denied entry to the U.S. for individuals who admit to smoking marijuana. Based on this logic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be denied admission to the U.S. So how should a traveler answer this loaded question? Travelers must always tell the truth.  However, it’s important for travelers to know their rights at the border. In order to be rendered inadmissible from the U.S. for a […]
Continue Reading

Chad Travel Restrictions Removed

On April 10, 2018, the President announced that travel restrictions against the nation of Chad will be removed. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined that Chad has raised its security standards to meet the baseline U.S. national security requirements.  According to DHS, Chad has made significant progress toward modernizing its passport documents, regularizing processes for routine sharing of criminal and terrorist threat information, and improving procedures for reporting lost and stolen passports. As a result, its nationals will once again be able to receive visas for travel to the U.S.  Specific travel restrictions were implemented through Presidential Proclamation back in September 2017. It was the first time in U.S. history that minimum requirements for international cooperation were established to support U.S. visa and immigration vetting and adjudication procedures. Since then, nationals from Iran, Chad, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen have faced heavy restrictions, minus a few exceptions, from traveling to the U.S. The following exceptions apply to nationals from the remaining seven countries, and individuals who qualify will not be subject to any travel restrictions listed in the Presidential Proclamation: Any national who was in the U.S. on the applicable effective date described in Section […]
Continue Reading