CBP Designates 14 POEs for Optimized Processing of First-Time Canadian TN & L Applicants

In September 2014, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) designated fourteen ports of entry (POEs) for optimized processing of first-time Canadian applicants for admission in the TN or L-1 categories. While eligible applicants are not required to use these particular POEs, the CBP is encouraging them to do so, promising “a more efficient approach to processing the high volume of TN and L applicants.”

Background on TNs and L-1s

The TN nonimmigrant classification allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to apply for temporary entry into the United States to engage in specified types of professional occupations. The TN category was discussed in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, TN Status: Employment Option for Canadian and Mexican Citizens (14.Feb.2014). The L-1 category allows multinational companies to transfer their executives and managers, as well as workers with specialized knowledge, from a foreign office to an operation inside the United States. The InfoArticle, L-1 & H1B Visas: A Comparison (20.Feb.2012), also available on MurthyDotCom, provides more details on the L-1 category.

Unlike other nationalities, Canadian citizens are allowed to apply for L-1 or TN status either at the border or at a preclearance location, without having to first obtain a petition approval or visa. These cases are adjudicated at the POE by CBP officers.

Only Entry from Canada Includes Preclearance Locations

The announcement by the CBP of optimized processing of first-time TN and L-1 applicants only applies to individuals applying to enter the United States from Canada. The designated POEs include four preclearance locations within Canada, located at major airports in or near Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. Besides these preclearance locations, eligible Canadian applicants have the option of seeking optimized processing at the following POEs: Highgate Springs, VT, Derby Line, VT, Alexandria Bay, NY, Peace Bridge, Buffalo, NY, Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, NY, Champlain, NY, Detroit Canada Tunnel, Detroit, MI, Detroit Ambassador Bridge, Detroit, MI, Blaine Peace Arch, Blaine, WA, Sweetgrass, MT.


Designating select POEs for optimized processing, hopefully, will make the process of Canadians applying for TN and L-1 status more efficient. It is anticipated that this will lead to more consistent adjudications of such cases at the border. The Murthy Law Firm appreciates the efforts made by the CBP to review and improve the agency’s processes.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.