• Reminder: Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Applicants at Blaine, WA Begins
  • May 4, 2018
  • At a glance

    The Blaine, WA pilot program – under which USCIS adjudicates Canadian L-1 border applications – runs through October 31, 2018. The program is optional.
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    The situation
    USCIS and CBP today initiated their joint pilot program for Canadians making initial or renewal applications at the Blaine, Washington port of entry. The pilot program will remain in effect through October 31, 2018.
    As previously reported, the pilot program requires those who choose to participate to file their L-1 petitions with USCIS’s California Service Center for review and approval before gaining admission at the Blaine port of entry. Once an approval notice is issued, the applicant may then use it to request admission at any northern point of entry. Though applicants may also choose to seek entry by bringing the filing receipt to the border, they are likely to experience a delay in admission as CBP will need to first contact USCIS to verify whether the case has been approved. This process applies to both Canadians seeking L-1 admission based on an employer’s previously approved blanket petition as well as those seeking L-1 admission based on an individual petition.
    Participation in the pilot program is considered optional, in that Canadian nationals may continue to present their I-129 petition with CBP in Blaine without first applying with USCIS. The petition, however, will not be adjudicated at Blaine, but rather at a nearby Class A port of entry.
    As an alternative, Canadian nationals may continue to seek admission at nearby ports of entry such as Point Roberts, Washington; Sumas, Washington; or at the Vancouver, Washington pre-clearance airport without first filing with USCIS.
    Looking ahead
    USCIS states that at the conclusion of the six-month pilot program, it will accept stakeholders’ feedback about the program’s effectiveness and whether it should be extended to other points of entry or immigration classifications. Because current regulations explicitly permit Canadian citizens to seek L-1 admission at Class A ports of entry and at airport pre-clearance, regulatory changes may be necessary to expand or permanently implement the program. Fragomen is closely monitoring the implementation of the L-1 pilot program and will provide additional updates as they are issued.