April 30, 2019

Important CBP Policy Change Affects Canadian Nationals Looking to Renew L-1 Status at the Border

If you employ Canadian nationals holding L-1 status, you’ll now need to plan ahead for when those employees need to renew their status.

This is because certain Canadian nationals may no longer file subsequent L-1 petitions at ports of entry and preclearance locations based on a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy, which takes the position that L-1 renewal petitions cannot be adjudicated at these locations. These L-1 petitions will instead need to be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The policy applies to both blanket and individual L-1 renewal petitions but not to intermittent L-1 petitions. Those with intermittent L-1 status reside in Canada and work in the United States less than 50% of the time. CBP ports of entry and preclearance locations have not been uniformly applying this policy exception, but CBP is working to reinforce the exception through training.

The new policy reverses long-standing CBP practice that allowed the submission of subsequent L-1 petitions by Canadian nationals at ports of entry and preclearance locations pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and it’s crucial for employers and their employees to obtain current information. Stay tuned for further updates.

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