Vancouver Immigration And Cross-Border Injury Law Blog

Cross-border personal injury can be costly

British Columbia residents who are injured in accidents will hardly ever see hospital bills because their health insurance plans typically take care of all medical expenses. If such incidents happen while they travel outside the country, insurance coverage would be limited unless they take out travel insurance. However, not all Vancouver residents who make day trips to Seattle for shopping or a show regard it as international travelling, and they might not be covered by insurance in the event of a cross-border personal injury.

One of the biggest threats on the road to and from Washington state is the danger posed by commercial vehicles. While drivers of passenger vehicles know the rule of keeping a two-second following distance, large trucks must leave a space of at least four seconds, and even more in adverse weather. This is because they need more space to come to a halt; unfortunately, not all commercial drivers comply.

US immigration cannot access pardoned marijuana records

The federal government of Canada announced that people with prior cannabis possession convictions will be allowed to apply for pardons. Following these recent changes to federal laws, people across Canada, including British Columbia, might be able to have simple marijuana possession convictions pardoned. That might make travelling across the border easier. Since recreational use of cannabis became legal across Canada, U.S. immigration officials have refused entry into the United States for people whose criminal records included marijuana convictions.

U.S. border agents have access to the RCMP database of convictions, and this is what they typically consult to check the criminal records of those wanting to enter the United States. In the past, this database also displayed simple cannabis possession convictions, but pardoned sentences will no longer be included in the records. This might limit difficulties during border crossings from Canada to the United States. However, the new laws affect only Canada, and U.S. immigration laws remain unchanged, as it is the right of each country to control access.

US immigration ups the ante on golden visas

People in British Columbia who are saving to get funds together to obtain a golden visa might have to reconsider their plans. Since 1993, U.S. immigration required an investment of $500,000 for an EB-5 visa. This would then grant the person a conditional green card that is valid for two years. A new rule, which will take effect on Nov. 1, 2019, was recently published to show the new minimum investment will increase to $900,000.

The investment of $900,000 will only help investors from British Columbia or other foreign countries to obtain an EB-5 visa if they invest it in rural areas with high unemployment levels. U.S. authorities say the new rules will eliminate the prevalence of gerrymandering and fraudulent investments. It came to light that fraudsters used investors' funds for luxurious purchasers instead of investing it as required.

US immigration requirements for citizenship applications

Anyone in British Columbia who is also a holder of a green card might have questions about becoming a United States citizen. Under U.S. immigration laws, applicants must meet specific requirements before they could qualify for citizenship. The first is the applicant's age. He or she must be 18 or older, except if the person is a military member.

To become naturalized, the applicant must be a permanent U.S. resident who has continuously resided in the United States as such for five years. However, if the person is married to a U.S. citizen, and has been living with that spouse for at least three years, that will satisfy the continuous residence requirement. When it comes to physical presence, the three or five years of residence as a green card holder, physical presence for at least half of that period is required.

Insurance Coverage Across Borders

Many people can agree that it’s always a good idea to take a break and go on a vacation. With that being the case, you want to make sure if you are planning a road trip, that your auto insurance provides you with coverage across borders.

Insurance is important for you to have in the event that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident across borders. If you suffer severe injuries, such as brain damage or spinal cord damage, it’s important that you have the financial resources to cover your expenses, both medical and personal, while you recover.

Cross-border personal injury can involve motorcycles

Taking a trip from Vancouver to Seattle is nothing unusual, and it is par for the course for many British Columbia resident. Travel options include taking the bus, riding the train or drive to Washington state by car, motorcycle or other mode of transport. It is not a tough drive, but to avoid cross-border personal injury due to a crash, it is always a good idea to check road conditions before taking the trip.

Summer is the perfect time to take bike ride south of the border. However, sharing the road with automobiles can be life-threatening. Safety authorities in Seattle recently reminded motorists to look out for motorcyclists. They noted that bikers might swerve for potholes or cracked pavement, which are hazards that might seem insignificant for vehicle drivers, but are deadly for bikers.

US immigration options for British Columbia truckers

Tens of thousands of commercial vehicle drivers haul cargo across the border to and from the United States. Working on tight schedules and having to meet deadlines can be challenging if valuable time is wasted during each border crossing. Fortunately, an agreement between U.S. Immigration and the government of Canada seeks to simplify that process.

The program is a trusted traveller and shipper program that was initiated post 9/11, whereby commercial carriers and their drivers go through background checks. If they pass those tests and meet specific eligibility requirements, they can be entered into the Free and Secure Trade program, also known as FAST. Participants in the program use special FAST vehicle lanes in both directions when they go through customs at the land border posts, including those between British Columbia and Washington state.

Being proactive might prevent cross-border personal injury

Drivers who frequently travel between Vancouver and Seattle know that they will always be vulnerable. Even when driving in perfect weather, anyone can fall victim to a distracted driver in another vehicle. Dealing with cross-border personal injury can be daunting. One precaution may be to learn how to become a proactive driver because that could allow the driver to anticipate and avoid potential dangers.

This process starts with recognizing any signs of danger by focusing on the road and learning for what to be on the lookout. An example is noticing people in parked cars who might open the doors without checking for oncoming traffic. That also leads to the next requirement of anticipating the actions of drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and bikers. Watching out and being prepared for their actions might save lives.

US immigration advice from a seasoned snowbird

Every year, thousands of people from British Columbia and other provinces and territories leave Canada to spend the winter in the United States. When summer arrives, these snowbirds head home, and regardless of how many times they have crossed the border, it does not get easier. A director of the Canadian Snowbird Association recently spoke at a meeting where she advised on U.S. immigration laws that affect border-crossing snowbirds.

She said preparedness is crucial, even for those who go on day trips to Seattle or other cities. She suggests compiling a binder in which to keep all the necessary documentation, not forgetting to include a tax notice or utility bill to show that they do not intend to move to the U.S. but plan to return. It is also a good idea to leave copies of all the documents at home as a fall-back in case anything should happen.

Summer driving risks can cause cross-border personal injury

A lot of attention is typically paid to the hazards of driving during the winter months, but many motorists forget about the risks of summer driving. Warm weather days in British Columbia could be lazy, and they tend to cause complacency in some drivers. If accidents happen while Vancouver residents are on trips to Seattle, the navigation of legal and insurance issues after cross-border personal injury could be complicated.

Just like dealing with snow and ice on the roads in winter, summer rains can be hazardous. Drivers who do not take care on wet roads may have to deal with skidding or hydroplaning. Lower speeds and extra stopping distances are as crucial at this time of the year as in winter. Instead of savouring drives in the balmy weather, some drivers find the bright, clear days ideal for speeding, often with devastating consequences.

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