The Admissibility Review Office (ARO) Seeks to Implement Impractical/ Unworkable Policy for Those Canadian’s Requiring I-192 Waivers

September 26th, 2012 by SRW Lawyers

Until recently, Canadians with approved I-192 waivers for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2) could also use these waivers to enter the United States for other non-immigrant purposes (TN, L-1, H-1B, O-1, F-1, J-1, etc.). Recently however, the Admissibility Review Office (ARO), which adjudicates these types of waiver applications, is seeking to require that Canadian applicants now have their desired non-immigrant category listed on their I-192 application so that it is annotated on their Form I-194 (Approval Notice for Form I-192), upon favorable adjudication by the ARO.

You may ask why this is unreasonable or impractical. First, those Canadians with existing waiver approvals will not be grandfathered under the old policy. As such, even those approved waiver recipients will now be required to either file for a new waiver or request to amend their waiver – either way, there will be delays and additional costs involved. Second, it seems unnecessary – the I-194 already contains sufficient language to permit the CBP officer to decide the terms of entry and length of entry. Put another way, if the waiver recipient is applying for a TN, the CBP officer already has the authority to admit him or her as a business entrant based on the language on the I-194, which should be read to encompass the TN.

As time progresses, our office is receiving more reports of various ports of entry adhering to this new policy implemented by the ARO. These ports are requiring already approved waiver recipients to go back to the ARO and request new waivers enumerating the non-immigrant classification they are seeking. One of the ports that has been mentioned frequently has been during Pre-Flight Inspections at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Fortunately, not all ports are adhering to this policy…yet.

If you take the ARO’s reasoning to an extreme, imagine that a Canadian waiver recipient seeks to enter the United States on Sunday morning to attend a Buffalo Bills game, conveys this to the inspecting CBP officer and is admitted to attend the Buffalo Bills game. That same evening, the same individual decides that he would also like to attend a Sabres game that evening which he did not mention to the CBP official who questioned him earlier that day. Does he need to depart the U.S. and ask to re-enter so he can attend the Sabres game?

While the above may seem like a preposterous scenario, it highlights the type of outlandish control that the ARO seeks over Canadian waiver entrants. Keep in mind that those waiver recipients have been fully vetted and cleared by record checks, police checks and other checks so having them file new waiver applications/amended waiver applications will only cause delays, additional costs, and additional hassles. Lastly, the impractical part of this new policy is that the ARO can approve I-192 waivers for any length of time, up to five (5) years. In this ever-changing economy and global society, how is a prospective Canadian waiver applicant supposed to know that he or she may want to also have their waiver cover other non-immigrant statuses?

The previous policy using the term “business and pleasure” has been in place for well over 50 years – Why is the ARO seeking to unnecessarily complicate things for these Canadian waiver applicants with this new impractical/unworkable policy?

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