Vancouver Immigration And Cross-Border Injury Law Blog

US immigration: Jay Inslee asks B.C. cannabis users to be patient

The prohibition of cannabis in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada has come to an end, and although the substance was legalized in the state of Washington as far back as 2012, taking it across international borders is still illegal. U.S. immigration laws are based on the fact that marijuana possession is against federal law. This is despite the fact that it is legal in both British Columbia and the state of Washington.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee recently met with British Columbia Premier John Horgan. He says the midterm elections in the United States might bring about changes that will make it easier for British Columbia people to bring cannabis across the border. However, he says tourists would be wise to leave their marijuana behind to avoid difficulty when they cross the border into the United States.

Cross-border personal injury: Spinal injuries can be devastating

Automobile accidents can happen to anyone at just about any time and place. The accident location can lead to many challenges when British Columbia residents are involved in crashes while they are travelling south of the border. Any injuries suffered in such an accident might lead to cross-border personal injury claims, and dealing with the legal and insurance aspects of two different countries could be a complicated process.

In cases in which the accident injuries have potentially long-term health consequences, it will require special skills of an experienced lawyer to obtain monetary compensation for past and future losses. An example is a spinal cord injury, which is one of the most severe car accident injuries to suffer. The damage could be minimal with only bruising or pressure, but it could be severe with damage that severed the spinal cord and caused permanent damage to nerves.

US immigration visa requirements for those with special skills

British Columbia individuals with extraordinary achievements or abilities need special visas to enter the United States. To comply with U.S. immigration laws, individuals who accompany these exceptionally talented people as assistants, and also their spouses and children, need special visas. These are classified as O nonimmigrant visas, and are subdivided according to the unique skills of the visa applicants.

Anyone with extraordinary abilities in the fields of education, sciences, athletics or business must apply for an O-1A visa. If the individual has an assistant that plays an integral part in the extraordinary activity of the O-1A visa applicant, that person must apply for an O-2 visa. Those with extraordinary achievements or abilities in the television or motion picture industry will need an O-1B visa to perform in the United States, and his or her assistant must play an essential part in the completion of the planned production to be eligible for an O-2 Visa.

Cross-border personal injury symptoms can be delayed

Many people who are involved in car accidents that seem minor walk away grateful for escaping injury, only to start experiencing pain days or even weeks later. Such delayed symptoms could present problems if the victim is a British Columbia resident who was injured during a trip across the border for a day of shopping in Seattle. Unanticipated medical expenses can adversely affect anyone's finances.

The body produces natural painkillers called endorphins and adrenaline, and once they wear off and return to normal levels, the accident victim may experience the pain that was hidden before. Accidents like rear-end bumper bashing could seem insignificant because there is only minor damage to the vehicles, but the occupants might suffer hidden injuries. Whiplash is the most common consequence of such an accident, which puts excessive strain on the vertebrae and the spinal column. Delayed symptoms could include neck and back pain, dizziness, headaches, numbness, pins and needles and other sensory issues.

US immigration: Marijuana vs. border agents

According to Statistics Canada, over 42 million Canadians, including many from British Columbia, made overnight or same-day trips to destinations south of the border in 2017. However, with the imminent legalization of the retail marijuana market, authorities are speculating over the problems this will pose for Canadians crossing the U.S. border. Under U.S. immigration and drug laws, it is not only users of marijuana that might risk a lifetime ban on entry into the United States but also employees of that industry and investors in the marijuana sector, which is promising to be booming from the start.

Even though the marijuana laws in some U.S. states have been eased, it remains a banned substance under federal laws. For that reason, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency will continue the application of those regulations. Canadians will be asked about current and past marijuana use, and authorities continue to advise against evasive answers because anyone caught providing false information can be banned from U.S. entry for life.

A cross-border crash sent you to the hospital. How will you cope?

If you live in British Columbia, you will likely make frequent trips across the border to visit Seattle for shopping, a sporting event or some other activity as a visitor. Because Vancouver residents make these trips frequently, they sometimes forget or may take for granted that they are travelling across an international border into another country. If you suffer injuries as a victim in an auto accident on such a trip, you might have to deal with the intricacies of U.S. laws and insurance companies.

Many of these cross-border accidents result in only minor injuries, but how would you deal with the consequences of severe injuries if you were to land in a hospital in the state of Washington for an extended period?  You could be a victim of any of an endless list of auto accident injuries, although some of the following are more common than others.

US immigration: Declared inadmissible -- what now?

There are various reasons why a Canadian citizen from British Columbia could be refused entry into the United States. However, anyone who does not require a visa under the U.S. immigration laws, and who is not approved for entry into the United States might be eligible to make an advance application for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility. However, this can be a lengthy process, and there is a substantial cost involved -- regardless of whether the application is approved.

Some of the reasons for inadmissibility include having overstayed a period of admission into the United States on a previous occasion. Anyone with a contagious disease might be denied entry, and also those who have been declared drug addicts or abusers or have been found guilty of violating controlled substance laws. Trafficking of people and involvement with money laundering are also reasons for inadmissibility.

Cross border personal injury: The intricacies of travel insurance

Many Vancouver residents take frequent trips to Seattle or other destinations south of the border. However, a significant number of those travellers neglect to take out travel insurance because such trips might be part of their frequent commutes and not seen as international travels. Cross-border personal injury or illness can have unanticipated financial consequences that might be worth considering.

With the availability of apps for almost anything one could think of, it is not surprising that there is now an app for buying travel insurance. While that might be a convenient way to do it, consumers might be smart not to rush into such transactions. The health status of each person is unique, and the insurance app might not provide specific benefits as required by the app user.

US immigration: Reasons for ineligibility for NEXUS participation

NEXUS is a bi-national program that allows low-risk Canadian travellers who are preapproved to enter the U.S. at designated points of entry -- land, air and marine ports. Lawful permanent residents of British Columbia or other Canadian provinces or territories are eligible to file applications for NEXUS membership. Juveniles who are not yet 18 years old need parental consent -- or the consent of a legal guardian -- to participate in this Canada-U.S. immigration program.

Not all applications for participation are approved, and reasons that could make an applicant ineligible include those whose information on the forms is incomplete or false. Any individuals who have records of violating agriculture, immigration or customs laws of any country will not be approved. Applicants with criminal convictions, outstanding warrants or pending criminal charges will not be eligible.

Cross-border personal injury: Typical causes of road accidents

For many Vancouver residents, trips to Seattle are not at all unusual and are frequently undertaken. However, unanticipated auto accidents can change any journey into a nightmare when a cross-border personal injury comes into play. Safety authorities at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia say that, although nobody will ever be entirely protected while traveling in automobiles, understanding why accidents happen might help drivers to avoid mistakes and make informed decisions.

ICBC says impaired driving is one of the primary causes of road accidents. Authorities urge drivers to resist having a drink before taking to the roads. They recommend that drivers plan for safe and sober rides while they also share the road safely by avoiding high-risk driving. Failing to yield and not keeping safe following distances are common high-risk driving behaviors that lead to many crashes.

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