Vancouver Immigration And Cross-Border Injury Law Blog

US Immigration: No visa without social media info

British Columbia passport holders do not need visas to cross the border when they visit the United States. However, those with permanent resident status must apply for non-immigrant visas for such visits. It is essential to stay up to date with changing U.S. immigration laws so as to avoid being caught unawares and have unanticipated problems when crossing the border.

As from the beginning of June, immigration laws that were proposed in March 2018 came into effect. Visa applicants must provide information about all their social media activities dating back five years. Although the mandate covers only some social media services, visa applicants are encouraged to volunteer account names for other services that are not included on the form.

Canadian truckers a risk of cross-border personal injury

Truckers who haul cargo between Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, and the U.S. are vulnerable if they are unfamiliar with the laws applicable to big rigs south of the border. The Hours of Service rules in the United States differ from the Canadian standards, and noncompliance can interfere with their trips. Along with citations and fines, they also risk crashing, which may result in them having to deal with cross-border personal injury claims.

The HOS rules that apply as soon as commercial truckers cross the border into the U.S. mandate that the hours that truckers drive may not exceed 11 hours, and those hours are only allowed after they had 10 consecutive hours off duty. Restrictions also exist for those who were on non-driving duties for 14 straight hours. They may not then get behind the wheel of a truck to drive. Furthermore, truckers must take 30-minute rest breaks at least every eight hours.

US immigration notes for travelling south of the border and back

For many Vancouver residents, trips to Seattle or other destinations in the United States are frequent occurrences. Although they might not see it as international travel, that is what it is because they cross an international border. For that reason, travellers have to comply with U.S. immigration laws when they leave Canada, and upon their return to British Columbia, the Canada Border Services Agency has a separate set of requirements.

Canadian citizens only need to obtain visas if they plan to study, work or invest in the United States, or if they are immigrating there. A valid Canadian passport will do, and for those who make such trips frequently, it might be a good idea to learn more about the Trusted Traveller Programs. Things are slightly different for who those are residents but not Canadian citizens who want to travel across the border.

Cross-border personal injury can happen in the blink of an eye

Many British Columbia residents take frequent trips across the border for business, shopping, entertainment or other reasons. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, and when they happen during such trips, dealing with cross-border personal injury claims could be daunting. In some cases, life-changing injuries lead to significant financial problems, and dealing with insurance and laws on both sides of the border could be overwhelming.

Common injuries include whiplash, which is typically caused by the rapid movement of the head and neck upon the impact of a collision. It usually causes soft tissue, ligament and tendon injuries in the neck, shoulders and back. It could also cause traumatic brain injuries if the motion caused the brain to smash into the walls of the skull. This could happen even without impact to the head.

US immigration: Can temporary visitors apply for green cards?

Many British Columbia residents spend time in the United States as temporary visitors or students. Students might want to remain in the United States and establish careers, or a visitor might fall in love, find a job or have another reason for wanting to change his or her nonimmigrant status to permanent resident status. Fortunately, the U.S. immigration laws have a process called adjustment of status that will provide successful applicants with a green card or immigrant visa.

Eligibility requirements that an AOS applicant must meet include the need for the applicant to be present in the United States at the time of applying, and throughout the process. He or she must have lawfully entered the country with the necessary valid documents presented to a U.S. immigration officer. Even if the application is made after the expiration of a visa, the applicant would be eligible for AOS because the initial entry was lawful.

Cross-border personal injury: 1 killed, 1 injured in fiery crash

At approximately 11:30 a.m. on a recent Thursday, a driver of a minivan lost his life when an SUV smashed into his vehicle while he was waiting in the queue to clear the border into British Columbia. This would naturally be a traumatizing time for the surviving family members, and it might be complicated by the fact that the SUV driver is from Washington state. Dealing with the legalities of cross-border personal injury or wrongful death claims could be a legal nightmare.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the accident happened between the border and the inspection booths on the Canadian side. According to witnesses, the SUV driver raced toward the stationary lineup of vehicles at a high rate of speed, and crashed into the van. Both vehicles ended up in a flowerbed, and the van burst into flames, causing the death of its driver.

Summer Safety Kits For Vehicles

With the summer season just around the corner, many people are already planning vacations, road trips, or camping and weekend getaways on both sides of the border. While these trips can be fun, its important to remember that road safety will factor into how memorable your family vacation turns out to be.

When you are travelling across the border by vehicle, there could be long periods of time between rest stations. It’s also possible that, while you may know where you are going, you may not know what’s available along the route. Nearby hospitals, or numbers for emergency or roadside assistance services can be hard to find when you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident in a foreign country.

Risks of cross-border personal injury when driving in spring rain

Although Vancouver and Seattle typically don't receive as much rain in May as other times of the year, it is still a real possibility, and when it happens, it increases accident risks. Many British Columbia residents might be anxious to get out after the long, cold winter, and travelling south to Seattle might be the ideal outing. However, unsuspected light rain might just cause a crash, and cross-border personal injury claims are never easy to navigate.

A recent climate study that used precise weather radar data showed interesting results related to car accidents. A meteorologist and data analyst says that the risks of fatal car accidents are more than twice as high in heavy rainstorms as in clear weather. However, a significant risk of serious crashes exists in light rain, even just a drizzle.

US immigration to allocate additional H2-B visas

Some of the British Columbia residents who applied for a seasonal guest worker visas in 2019 were disappointed. The U.S. immigration limits the number H2-B visas it allocates each year. The annual cap is 66,000 visas made available for non-agricultural foreign workers, half of which are allocated in January for the first half of the fiscal year, and the remaining 33,000 are then allocated to applicants who will start work in the United States in the second half of the fiscal year.

However, all is not lost because the United States Department of Homeland Security announced that there would be an additional 30,000 H2-B visas available for the second half of the current fiscal year. This will allow U.S. employers to bring in additional workers to fill the positions of jobs that American citizens will not do. The department says the increased number of visas are warranted by the tightening of the labour market.

ICBC changes will impact cross-border personal injury claims

On April 1, specific changes took effect in the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia car insurance regulations. These changes could severely impact the outcome of any claims that follow car accidents. It could be even more daunting to obtain benefits in a case of cross-border personal injury that happens while Vancouver residents are visiting Seattle or other destinations south of the border.

Although ICBC car insurance is said to be a no-fault system that pays benefits regardless of who was at fault, there are limits. Also, ICBC announced that the safety records of drivers would determine the rates they pay. Drivers with records of risky behaviour such as speeding and distracted driving will pay higher premiums than those who are regarded as safe drivers.

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