USCIS and CBP to Implement Form I-129 Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants

June 5th, 2018
Pilot program has been implemented by the USCIS, starting from April 30th to October 31st, 2018, in order to evaluate the adjudication of L-1 visa petitions for Canadian applicants. This program will last 6 months and it is designed to test the cooperation between the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offices in regards to the processing of L-1 petitions.

This fusion will allow U.S companies to petition for the Canadian employee to USCIS through submitting Form I-129 and the Canadian citizen will be allowed to go to the port of entry (POE) to apply for admission into the U.S. Immediate remote adjudication of their L-1 petition can be requested at the POE.

Just because the previous process took longer, this newly designed program aims to shorten the time for processing the L-1 visa for Canadian applicants. An application for admission can be applied by Canadian L-1 visa applicants into the U.S immediately on the day that the Form I-129 petition was filed or they can wait until the petition is processed and then apply.

It is important to know that the joint pilot program of USCIS and CBP is now only available at the Blaine Port of Entry (POE), which goes through Washington State. During the announced 6 month period, USCIS will test the effectiveness of the program and then conduct a study to evaluate it. The study will be conducted from surveys and interviews, also applicants can send feedback to USCIS’s email [email protected]

The program could be expanded if there is positive feedback. After that USCIS plans to expand the L-1 petition processing in other ports of entry, not just Blaine POE.

In order to participate in this program, employers can start by filing Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker or Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, alongside the rest of the supporting documents to the California Service Center. The documents must contain fees so that USCIS can start processing. They will issue a Form I-797, Notice of Receipt and adjudicate the petition.

All documents must be provided with a cover sheet stating “Canadian L” for covering the Forms I-129 or I-129S and all the supporting documents. This is important in order for the USCIS to quickly identify the relevant petitions and adjudicate them as their turn comes.

After this process is done, the Canadian candidate must immediately show up at the Blaine POE and ask for remote adjudication and admission into the country. Using this method it is planned that the process will be much more efficient and faster.

It is important to know that all petitioners must file their Forms I-129 or Form I-129S through the pilot program. Any petitioner can file if they have no penalties from USCIS.

The L-1 visa holders use this nonimmigrant visa to allow employees to transfer and work in the U.S in executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position for the U.S branch of the same company that they were working in a foreign country. This is a dual intent visa, even though the visa requires proof of returning home. This means that the L-1 visa holders are eligible to file for a Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) or Green Card if they fulfill the requirements.

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