This report covers the details of a joint agency pilot for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 non-immigrant status aiming to enhance the consistency of L-1 adjudications.
On March 26, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced details of a joint agency pilot for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 non-immigrant status. Effective April 30, 2018, Canadian citizens seeking L-1 non-immigrant status through the Peace Arch Point of Entry or through the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing, will be required to first submit a Form I-129 and supporting evidence to the USCIS California Service Center, before seeking admission into the U.S. through these two border crossings. The pilot project aims to enhance the consistency of L-1 adjudications.
Currently, Canadian citizens seeking L-1 non-immigrant status through the Peace Arch Point of Entry, located in Blaine, Washington, and the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing, may apply directly at either port of entry for immediate adjudication on their date of intended travel to the U.S. for work (or up to ten days prior). Effective April 30, 2018, Canadian citizens seeking L-1 non-immigrant status will be required to first submit a Form I-129 and supporting evidence to the USCIS California Service Center before seeking admission into the U.S. through these two border crossings.
Canadian citizens applying for L-1 non-immigrant status under a corporate blanket are also included in, and subject to, the pilot project. USCIS has indicated that a receipt notice will be immediately issued once an L-1 petition is received, and that L-1 petitions will be adjudicated within two to three days. If approved, a Form I-797 Approval Notice will follow in the mail. The beneficiary may then carry the I-797 Approval Notice and seek L-1 admission into the United States through either the Peace Arch Point in Blaine or the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing.
Alternatively, the beneficiary of an L-1 petition submitted to the California Service Center under the pilot project may seek admission into the United States through the Peace Arch Point in Blaine, Washington, carrying only the Form I-797 Receipt Notice. In this circumstance, the L-1 petition will be adjudicated immediately. However, CBP has warned that the beneficiary may be refused entry if USCIS determines that a request for evidence (RFE) is required.
The pilot project is initially expected to continue for six months, and is expected to expand to include other surrounding ports of entry on the Canadian and U.S. border. A further announcement is expected in April 2018.
Under the pilot project, employers seeking L-1 work authorization should expect a lengthier adjudication process for Canadian citizens seeking to travel through Blaine, Washington, since petitions must first be filed with the California Service Center. Once petitions are received for processing, the adjudication process is expected to take several days, with USCIS indicating that requests for additional evidence may be issued.
Employers should to be alert to future developments with this new government process and consult with immigration counsel to plan accordingly.
KPMG Law LLP will continue to provide updates regarding the impact this new policy as they become available.
* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.
© 2020 KPMG LLP, a Canada limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.
Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.