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US immigration: Canadians exempted from entry suspensions

With current travel restrictions between Canada and the United States, people in British Columbia and other provinces might be unsure about the latest regulations. An executive order was issued that prohibits entry to the United States of nonimmigrants through the end of this year. U.S. immigration laws and regulations are changing rapidly, and when news about the suspensions was published, questions were asked about how it will affect border crossings by Canadians travelling to the United States.

The primary concern was for the impact this order would have on the established economic relationship between the two countries. A North Country congresswomen noted that the negative impact would be critical. Fortunately, the United States later clarified the order, announcing exemptions for Canadians.

An executive order was signed by the president in April, ostensibly to protect American workers at a time with high unemployment numbers. It was valid for 60 days, but the new order extends that period through Dec. 31. Holders of H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and some J nonimmigrant visas are suspended from entering the United States, along with their spouses and other family members. However, health care workers and lawful permanent residents are permitted to enter.

It may be a good idea for British Columbia residents who plan to travel to the United States to consult with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer. Legal counsel will be up to date with the latest executive orders and explain which visa types are exempted from the executive order. With the guidance of a lawyer, unnecessary complications at the border can be avoided.