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AILA/CBP Liaison Practice Pointer: PIMS, L-2, and TD Visa Issuance for Non-Canadian Spouses and Children

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Although Canadian nonimmigrants are largely visa-exempt, the non-Canadian dependent of a principal Canadian must be issued a visa to present for inspection and admission to the U.S. Visa issuance for L-2 non-Canadian dependents of L-1 beneficiaries whose petitions were submitted and approved at a port of entry or preclearance location have been problematic because, until recently, L-1 petitions submitted and approved at ports of entry or preclearance locations were not sent to the U.S. Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) for entry into the Petition Information Management System (PIMS). Visa issuance for TD non-Canadian dependents faced similar challenges, as no mechanism was in place to forward approvals of TN applications (consisting of only the TN letter) at the Port of Entry to the KCC for entry into PIMS.

Consular posts require confirmation of the principal Canadian’s approval of TN or L-1 application through a PIMS entry for a non-Canadian dependent’s visa application before they may issue visas to dependent L-2 and TD spouses and children. Thus, non-Canadian dependent spouses and children were unable to obtain visas, or visa issuance was significantly delayed.

The national office of CBP recently informed the Committee that guidance was issued to the field directing officers to fax a copy of the CBP-approved I-129 petition directly to KCC for entry into PIMS. CBP agreed that similar action should be taken for TN submissions.

CBP recommends that those submitting L or TN filings at preclearance locations or ports of entry specifically indicate that a derivative beneficiary will require a visa and also remind the admitting officer that CBP protocol is to fax confirmation of the Canadian L-1 or TN admission to KCC in order to allow for PIMS entry for the required visa application. The Committee suggests that such notification may best be accomplished with a colored sheet that specifically requests that CBP fax a copy of the petition or TN filing and the action taken by CBP to KCC for entry into PIMS and that the request also be made verbally at the time of admission.

“AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11012063 (posted Jan. 20, 2011)”

Filed under: Immigration Issues