For the past several months, Canadians who need an L visa renewal have not been allowed to renew at U.S. ports of entry or Canadian airport pre-flight inspection sites. The change in the L visa renewal process is related to new interpretations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under the Trump administration. L visas applicants must be sponsored for an extension of stay petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to renew their status.
Canada and U.S. NAFTA immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explains that although the new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy went into effect in 2019, it's really starting to impact businesses now:
CBP and USCIS new L-1 visa renewal policies are less convenient, more expensive and take longer for both the employee and the employer. Employers should start the process 6-8 months before the employee's current L-1 will expire. Canadian employees planning to submit an initial L-1 application at a U.S. port of entry should prepare for potential delays.
CBPs new policy also impacts L-2 dependents of L-1 visa applicants.
Expedited L Visa Renewal Processing
Businesses have the option to apply for expedited processing for some L extension petitions. USCIS's premium processing provides expedited processing for L-1A and L-1B visas for an additional fee of $1440. Applications for premium processing for an L extension will receive either an "approval notice, denial notice, notice of intent to deny, request for evidence or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation" within 15 calendar days.
What Are L-1 Visas?
Intra-company transfer work permits L-1 Visas allow a worker to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis for business, temporary work, or study.
- The L-1A visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
- The L-1B visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge skills relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
For more information about how the Customs and Border Protection policy changes can impact your business and initiate L-1 extension petitions for filing with USCIS, contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.