Weekly Recap: Complicated Border Cases Resolved

Jennifer Behm, associate attorney with Berardi Immigration Law, had a busy week at the Peace Bridge. Following is an overview of some border cases she presented to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) these past few days.

TN Engineer vs. TN Computer Systems Analyst

One of our corporate clients had an employee they wished to transfer to New York City for an IT-related project. The individual held a degree in engineering, qualifying him under NAFTA for TN status as an engineer. When we discussed his job duties for the U.S. project, however, he stated that he would not be doing software or hardware engineering. Instead, he would be meeting with his employer’s clients to discuss their current computer systems and procedures. It was his job to design new systems to help those companies operate more efficiently.

We determined that this job offer was a much better fit for TN status as a computer systems analyst, and the individual was approved for a three-year period. Close analysis of job duties is critical for the successful application for a visa under the NAFTA treaty.

We’ve blogged on the importance of this issue on a number of prior occasions.  You can read a few of those past blogs here:

Careful consideration should be given to degree for TN application

Success with TN Applications can be a matter of DEGREE …

TN Nonimmigrant Visa: Employing Canadian and Mexican Nationals Under NAFTA

Think you might qualify for a TN visa? Here is a list of occupations covered by the NAFTA treaty: TN Nonimmigrant Visa: NAFTA Professions List

L-1A Renewal for a Manager at an Off-site Location

Our corporate client, the petitioner, is a global food services and management company.  The beneficiary, the general manager of dining services, was due for her L-1A renewal.  In this unique case, she works full-time at an upscale senior resident community in California – not at her employer’s corporate office.

Knowing that the government might take issue with the fact that her daily work location was not at the same site of her employer, we proactively explained that the petitioner still maintained full control and supervision over our client and that a traditional employee/employer relationship still exists. We also included a discussion about how her long-term placement at the senior community is permissible for immigration purposes. Our client flew from California to the East Coast so we could accompany her to present her application for renewal. She was quickly approved, and her husband received L-2 derivative status as well.

Here a previous blog that talks about the TN and the L-1, both visa categories created under the NAFTA treaty, side-by-side: NAFTA Nonimmigrant Visas (TN and L-1): A Comparison

Speedy L-1A Approval with a Blanket Petition

Large, multi-national companies that transfer many employees to the U.S. frequently use the L-1A category. If the company meets certain requirements, they can file an L-1 Blanket Petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to establish the required intra-company relationship “in advance.” While Blanket L Approval does not guarantee the automatic transfer of an employee in L-1 status, it does provide the employer with the flexibility to transfer eligible employees to the U.S. quickly and on short notice.

Our client needed to transfer a top-level executive to the U.S., so we prepared the required forms with evidence of the individual’s qualifying managerial experience. She was approved L-1 status, under the company’s pre-approved blanket petition, for a three-year period.

This article provides some greater insight into the Blanket L option: L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa: Intracompany Transferees

If you have NAFTA questions or would like our attorneys to accompany you to the Peace Bridge to assist you in presenting your application to Customs and Border Protection, please contact Berardi Immigration Law for a free consultation.

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