SRW Senior Partner Mr. William Reich appeared at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry in Buffalo, New York, to accompany a Canadian citizen client to apply for admission in B-1 (business visitor) status, so that the client could perform after-sales services (training) under NAFTA to employees of a U.S. customer.
As background, the client is currently employed by a Canadian company which is a wholesale distributor of sophisticated technical products that are imported from Europe and who had previously received specialized training in Europe on the manufacturing of these highly expensive products. The Canadian company recently sold equipment to a U.S. affiliate so that the U.S. company could set up the manufacturing process in the U.S. Under the terms of the sales agreement between the two companies, the Canadian company was required to provide training on the use of the equipment to the U.S. company’s employees. The question was – how would the client enter the U.S. to provide this training while complying with U.S. immigration laws?
After reviewing the case and researching the options, our firm was able to determine that the client would qualify under the B-1 NAFTA after-sales provisions found under 8 C.F.R. §214.2(b)(4)(i)(F) and CBP Inspector’s Field Manual §15.5(c)(1)(F). Prior to the client’s appearance at the Port of Entry, our firm prepared and submitted evidence of the client’s eligibility to enter in B-1 status, including evidence of his continued employment by the Canadian company, his specialized training, and a copy of the sales agreement (which we had also reviewed to ensure it met the necessary requirements). At the Port of Entry, after being thoroughly scrutinized by CBP, the client was issued a multiple entry Form I-94 valid for six months so that he could periodically enter the U.S. to provide the necessary training. During the examination, CBP was concerned whether the applicant would be performing employment duties and not just providing training (because of the hands-on approach involved in the training) which we were able to overcome.
This situation highlights the fact that whenever possible, B-1 (business visitor) status should be considered as an option given that there are no government filing fees (compared to H’s or L’s) and are quickly adjudicated (at the border for Canadian citizens). However, because of the limited scope of B-1 permissible activities, clients should educate themselves on whether their proposed activities fall into the B-1 category. For additional information on B-1’s and permissible activities under B-1, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
By NISHA V. FONTAINE, ESQ.