Information Sharing Between Canada and the US

On December 13, 2012, US Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, and the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney signed a US-Canada Visa and Immigration Information-Sharing Agreement.

The agreement stipulates that the US and Canada are allowed to share information that concerns third country nationals who are applicants for visa or permit to visit the US and Canada. Such sharing will assist in safeguarding and protecting the security of Canadians and Americans, while promoting travel and business. Additionally, information sharing will cultivate improved decision-making by the two countries: visa applicants will be better screened and risks will be identified more quickly. It will also aid both countries in identifying terrorists, violent criminals and those who are a danger to the respective countries. Officers working in both immigration and refugee protection sectors will be given ample information about all applicants.

The US and Canada have the ability to send an automated request for data to each other, in the even that a third country national applies to either country for a visa or asylum. A request will normally have specific information; biographic information would include name and date of birth, whereas biometric sharing would include an anonymous fingerprint. If any information corresponds with a former applicant, then immigration information — such as if a person already applied for a visa and was refused, or was deported from the country — can be shared between the two countries.

Biographic immigration information sharing will begin in 2013, while biometric sharing will begin in 2014.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA
Immigration Attorney
Lowenbaum Partnership, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri

The information is not meant to create a client-attorney relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Situations may differ based on the facts.

Tara Mahadevan

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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Global Entry

In 2011, TSA partnered with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to create an expedited screening program called the Global Entry Program. The initiative was developed in order to aid TSA in targeting high-risk passengers who posed a risk to national security.

Only American Airlines and Delta currently participate in Global Entry. At participating airports, travelers use Global Entry kiosks and scan passports or US permanent resident cards. Then travelers place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification and make a customs declaration. The kiosk prints a transaction receipt and directs the participant to baggage claim and the exit. Participants may also have the benefit of not removing their shoes and keeping their carry-on bag; leaving their laptop in bag; and leaving on light jackets and belts.

Who is eligible?

US citizens, lawful permanent residents, Dutch citizens and Mexican nationals may apply for Global Entry. Canadians NEXUS members may also apply.

However, there are many reasons for Global Entry ineligibility: if the applicant presents false or incomplete information; if the applicant has been convicted of, or has pending, criminal charges or outstanding warrants; and if the applicant has been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture laws. Also if the applicant is part of an ongoing investigation by any law enforcement agency; if the applicant is unable to enter the US under immigration regulation; and if the applicant cannot prove low-risk status to CBP.

Providing false information could cause you to lose any US benefits you may be eligible to receive under US immigration laws.

Applicants can apply for the Global Entry Program electronically through the Global On-line Enrollment System (GOES) application. After CBP reviews an application, applicants will be able to schedule their interview through their GOES account; interviews are typically done at a participating airport. The fee for processing the application is $100. There are five parts to the application: personal information; address history for the past five years; employment history for the past five years; additional information and eligibility questions; and certification.

Applicants must present a valid US passport and one other form of identification during the interview. Permanent US residents must provide a valid permanent resident card and one other form of identification that shows residency. An applicant will be interviewed to determine admissibility; identity, proof of citizenship, permanent resident card and travel documents are also used to verify and finalize eligibility requirements for membership. Applicants are required to submit themselves to biometrics–a photograph of the applicant’s face and electronic capture of their fingerprints, which will be used at the kiosk to verify Global Entry membership.

This program is not an entitlement–members are always subject to unpredictable screenings and random examination.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Immigration Attorney

Tara Mahadevan

Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.

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