United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a rule proposal that would extend the maximum period of stay for Treaty NAFTA (TN) nonimmigrant workers from Canada or Mexico. The rule would increase the maximum period of stay for TN workers to three years, as well as allow extensions of stay to be granted in three-year increments. Previously, workers admitted under a TN visa had to seek readmission or apply for an extension of stay each year.

The new rule would be similarly applied to dependents of TN workers who are eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. Spouses and unmarried minor children of TN workers, if otherwise admissible, would be eligible for admission and extensions of stay for three-year periods.

The purpose of the rule change is to ease administrative burdens and costs on TN nonimmigrants and to benefit U.S. employers by increasing the period of time beneficiaries are allowed to stay in the U.S. under a TN visa.

We will continue to monitor this rule change and will advise employers when the rule becomes effective.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Announces Global Entry™ Pilot Program

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched a new Global Entry™ pilot program that will facilitate entry into the U.S. for frequent, low risk, international "trusted" travelers. Those enrolled in the program will be able to use designated Global Entry™ kiosks for electronic admission into the U.S. and bypass the regular passport control line.

Eligible applicants for Global Entry™ membership are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or U.S. lawful permanent residents who are frequent, low-risk, international travelers over 14 years of age. Participants may not have been found guilty of a crime, charged with a Customs or immigration violation, given false or incomplete information on their applications, or found inadmissible to the United States under applicable immigration laws.

The pilot program will place Global Entry™ kiosks in the Federal Inspection Services areas at JFK International Airport in New York, Washington-Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Upon arrival, enrolled members can go directly to the kiosk to insert their machine-readable passports or U.S. permanent resident cards, provide fingerprints for comparison with biometric data on file, and answer CBP declaration questions posted on the kiosk touch-screen. Members will then be permitted to exit the screening area after presenting a printed receipt to a CBP officer, but may be subject to additional random screening if an officer so chooses.

CBP began accepting applications on May 12, 2008, through the Global On-Line Enrollment System (GOES) on the CBP website at www.cbp.gov. The kiosks will be available for use beginning June 10, 2008, and will operate for at least six months before undergoing an evaluation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Once an application is submitted and the $100 nonrefundable fee is paid, CBP officers at the Centralized Vetting Center will conduct background checks to determine applicant eligibility. If eligible, the applicant will be invited to the nearest participating airport for an interview with a CBP officer and collection of biometric data for review. A notification of CBP's decision will be sent by e-mail. A rejected application may be appealed to the CBP or DHS. More information regarding the application process can be found on the CBP website.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have questions or concerns about the application process or participation in the Global Entry™ pilot program.

CBP Collaborates with Dutch Trusted Travelers Program To Sign Joint Agreement

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) met with representatives of the Netherlands Immigration and Naturalisation Service at JFK International Airport in New York to discuss an integration process between the CBP Global Entry™ program and the Dutch Privium program. The joint agreement will soon allow citizens of the Netherlands to apply for enrollment in the Global Entry™ program as well as provide U.S. citizens with the same opportunity for Privium membership. Similar to CBP programs like NEXUS and SENTRI, which facilitate processing at the Canadian and Mexican borders for low-risk travelers, this most recent agreement will expedite travel to and from the Netherlands.

Citizens of the Netherlands may expect invitations to apply for Global Entry™ by the end of 2008 or early 2009.

We will continue to monitor the progression of the new trusted traveler programs and will advise employers of opportunities for enrollment. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about application or enrollment in the programs.