Recent reports have shown that there is a rising number of denials of L-1 visa applications by Canadians. This covers Canadians who are applying as individuals and those who made blanket petitions for the L-1 visa. There is speculation going around that the rising number of visa denials is because of a new policy. Some others think that visa refusals are happening mainly at some ports of entry.
There are reports too that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have taken this rise in rejections of L-1 visa applications of Canadians under review. At the moment, it is clear that officials of the CBP at the American ports of entry at the border with Canada and other pre-clearance locations in various airports in Canada will only be processing ‘initial’ applications of Canadians who want to enter the US via the L-1 visa route.
The process of granting a visa to initial applicants is based on the interpretation of the regulations introduced as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement — NAFTA for short. CBP officials as it seems, are refusing visas to Canadian citizens who want to obtain permission to stay longer in the US by extending their L-1 visas.
There are rumors that the CBP is pushing these regulatory changes in order to make lighter, its responsibility of adjudicating over US visas for nonimmigrants. NAFTA, on the other hand, is tasked with destroying all barriers to trade and investment among partners.
But then, the CBP got co-opted into implementing NAFTA's regulations. The body adjudicates over some nonimmigrant applications for US visas skipping the initial protocol where the USCIS gives them a prior review.
With the USCIS and the US State Department no longer taking part in adjudicating over nonimmigrant applications, the workload has consequently increased for the CBP. This has made the CBP implement changes new regulations to lighten its burden.
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