Canada: United States Customs and Border Protection Designates Ports of Entry for Optimized Processing of TN and L-1 Status

Last Updated: October 11 2014
Article by Henry Chang

United States Customs and Border Protection ("USCBP") recently announced on its website that, sometime during September 2014, it would begin optimizing processing for first-time Canadian TN and L-1 applicants seeking entry into the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (the "NAFTA"). TN status (also known as "Trade NAFTA" status) is available to Canadian citizens working in one of the designated professions described in L-1 status is available to executives, managers, and specialized knowledge workers, who are transferring to a United States company from a related foreign company.

The USCBP website states that, in connection with this initiative, it has designated fourteen ports of entry (including four preclearance locations) that will offer a more efficient approach to processing a high volume of TN and L-1 applicants. Of course, TN and L-1 applicants may continue to apply at any port of entry along the Canadian border for processing. However, they are encouraged to apply at one of the designated ports of entry where they will receive "optimized processing."

The fourteen ports of entry that have been designated for optimized processing are as follows:

  1. Lester B. Pearson International Airport; P.O. Box 115; Toronto AMF; Toronto, Ontario; L5P 1A2 (Hours of Operation: 4:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Daily)
  2. Trudeau International Airport; 975 Romeo Vachon Boulevard, North; Room TT 2.400; Dorval, Quebec; H4Y 1H1 (Hours of Operation: 4:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Daily)
  3. Vancouver International Airport; International Terminal – Level 3; 3161 Grant McConachie Way; Richmond, British Columbia; V7B 0A4 (Hours of Operation: 4:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Daily)
  4. Calgary International Airport; P.O. Box 155; 2000 Airport Road, Northeast; Calgary, Alberta; T2E 6W5 (Hours of Operation: 4:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Daily)
  5. Highgate Springs Port of Entry; Interstate 89 at the Border; Highgate Springs, VT; 05460; (Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday)
  6. Derby Line Port of Entry; Interstate 91; Derby Line, VT; 05830; (Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday)
  7. Alexandria Bay Port of Entry; 46735 Interstate 81; Alexandria Bay, NY; 13607
  8. Peace Bridge Port of Entry; One Peace Bridge Plaza; Buffalo, NY; 14213
  9. Rainbow Bridge Port of Entry; One Rainbow Bridge; Niagara Falls, NY; 14330
  10. Champlain Port of Entry; 237 West Service Road; Champlain, NY; 12919 (Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday)
  11. Detroit Canada Tunnel Port of Entry; 150 E. Jefferson; Detroit, MI 48226
  12. Detroit Ambassador Bridge Port of Entry; 3033 Porter Street; Detroit, MI; 48216 (Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday)
  13. Blaine Peace Arch Port of Entry; 123 Second Street; Blaine, WA; 98230 (Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday)
  14. Sweetgrass Port of Entry; 39825 Interstate 15; Sweetgrass, MT; 59484 (Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday)

This sounds good in theory. However, while some of these designated ports of entry are quite reasonable, others are notoriously difficult when adjudicating TN and L-1 cases.

It is also too early to know what form of "optimized processing" will be implemented at these designated ports of entry. Many years ago, each port of entry had a Free Trade Officer who was solely responsible for adjudicating TN and L-1 applications at that location but they were eventually phased out. It is uncertain whether this "optimized processing" will involve the appointment of a Free Trade Officer at each port of entry again. When Free Trade Officers were in place, TN and L-1 adjudications were not necessarily better or faster but there was at least some consistency among cases filed at the same port of entry.

Canadian citizens seeking TN or L-1 status at the time of admission should not assume that their application will be adjudicated in a reasonable manner merely because they apply at one of these fourteen designated locations. It is essential that an applicant be aware of the reputation of a particular port of entry before seeking TN or L-1 status there.

Of course, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") has been accepting first time TN petitions filed on behalf of Canadian citizens who are outside the United States since October 1, 2012. Prior to this date, USCIS only accepted TN petitions where the applicant was already in the United States and extending his or her existing TN status or changing to TN from another status.

First time TN applicants who are not sure where to apply might consider seeking TN status from USCIS prior to their application for admission. Based on anecdotal evidence, USCIS appears to be adjudicating TN applications in a reasonable manner. The filing fee is higher and it takes much longer to adjudicate a TN through USCIS but at least an applicant will know that he or she has been approved prior to appearing at the port of entry.

USCIS also adjudicates L-1 petitions, in particular those filed on behalf of non-Canadian applicants. The ability of a Canadian citizen to submit an L-1 petition at a port of entry along the Canada-U.S. border or at a preclearance facility at a Canadian airport has always been an exception to the general rule. As a result, Canadian citizens are still free to file their L-1 petitions with UCSIS. However, given the fact that USCIS is much stricter than USCBP when adjudicating L-1 petitions, it is rarely advisable for a Canadian to apply in this manner.

In conclusion, it is unlikely that this USCBP initiative will significantly alter the way that TN and L-1 cases are adjudicated. Applicants who retain qualified lawyers experienced in border adjudications will continue to benefit from the insight that such lawyers possess, including (among other things) knowing the best port of entry to submit such cases. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Henry Chang
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.