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L-1 Extensions at the US/Canadian Border Turned Away

Posted April 22, 2019Matthew MeltzerArticles

Canadian employees applying for L-1 visas are typically entitled to apply for a visa directly at a US port of entry, rather than applying through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Historically, this has applied to any L-1 petition.

We have received reports that the Customs and Border Protection, the agency that adjudicates petitions at these ports of entry, has ceased adjudicating petitions for L-1 extensions. CBP is still adjudicating initial petitions.

CBP appears to making a spurious argument, interpreting a regulation that requires extension of stay to go through USCIS, as meaning that L-1 petitions for extension are in fact an extension of stay. Since these petitions are for admission, they only provide petition validity, not an extension of existing status. The American Immigration Lawyers Association is in communication with the agency to fight this interpretation.

As of now, all L-1 extension petitions for Canadian employees must be filed through USCIS. This is unfortunate, as USCIS has a higher standard of review than CBP does at the border.