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Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick --Business Immigration--
The Immigration Lawyer for Canadians

The Peace Bridge Unofficial Home Page - Buffalo New York USA/Ft. Erie Ontario Canada

The Majestic Peace Bridge from the Bird Island Pier, Between Buffalo NY and Ft. Erie ON
The Majestic Peace Bridge from the Bird Island Pier: The Bridge (and Ft. Erie ON) are walking distance from Joe's residence.

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Some Lawyers Go to Court. We Go to the Bridge!

Thanks to NAFTA, Canadians get most work permits right at the border. With a carefully prepared application, INS grants the L-1, TN or B-1 I-94 permits on the spot. This eliminates time-consuming "mail and wait" procedures.

Thanks to NAFTA Canadians get most of their work permits right at the border.

Timing is everything in today's business climate. NAFTA allows our clients to quickly fill job openings or take advantage of fleeting business opportunities. NAFTA immigration provisions have dramatically cut the time to get multinational managers into the U.S.

The I-94: On the spot, at the Peace Bridge
Photo of a Sample I-94 Work Permit

The historic Peace Bridge is in Southern Ontario near the homes and businesses of most NAFTA applicants. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service Office there is one of the busiest and best-equipped NAFTA immigration locations.

Because of the expertise concentrated here, many Canadians outside of Ontario also use these NAFTA facilities. These people can often conveniently schedule a NAFTA appointment with other business or personal matters in the Toronto area.

Photograph of the Federal Building in Buffalo New York
The former Federal Building, Buffalo, New York: We can accompany our clients to the new building to get a Social Security Card.

My Buffalo location allows us to walk our clients through the NAFTA immigration interview. We first meet in Fort Erie, Ontario, to go over the applications. We then help our clients navigate over the bridge, through the booth and into the immigration office for our appointment. We can then personally accompany our clients to the Social Security Administration Office to get Social Security Cards.

Obtaining a social security card can be part of my service.

Canadian employees will need a special working version of this card. Employers need the "working" social security number for payroll and for many other purposes.

Getting it now can save time later. The Federal Building is close to our office. We can prepare the SS-5 form in advance and escort the employee to the Social Security office. The freshly minted form I-94 will be the required proof of employment status, required for a working social security number.

This trip to the Federal Building also helps make the border entry an entry for "employment purposes" further justifying your employee's eligibility for the NAFTA permit.

Our clients can then take advantage of our personal assistance to speed up acquisition of items for future applications. This can include photographs and fingerprints for future Green Card applications.

Consider the services our office provides. Our goal is to make the procedure as quick and trouble-free as possible. We help our clients get the application right...the first time.

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NAFTA Border Interview Steps

We personally accompany all of our clients to the border interviews.

This information is primarily for our clients. Other readers are welcome to this information. This page helps Canadian citizen L-1, TN and B-1 applicants. These applicants can receive their permits using the streamlined NAFTA border procedure. (Canadian landed immigrants cannot use these procedures, and do not qualify for the TN. Landed Immigrants can qualify for the L-1 and B-1 using standard procedures.)

We personally accompany our clients to the border interviews, when this will maximize the chance of success. This is to make sure that:

  • it does not take longer than it should,
  • stress is minimized for key employees and family,
  • you receive the approval the first time,
  • we are there for any unforeseen need for information or documents and
  • both company and employee proceed in a correct, legal fashion.

Here are the steps for the NAFTA interview:

Step #1: Pre-interview Meeting

Remind your employee to bring all family members, passports for everyone, and any items we still need for the application. Only children under 21 and the employee's spouse can get derivative status.

The application is based on your employee's status as a professional or business person. Business attire is highly recommended.

We will meet at a Ft. Erie Ontario restaurant near the Peace Bridge. (We may meet in Niagara Falls Ontario, should we decide that this is the appropriate port for your situation.)  This meeting will be one hour prior to the INS interview appointment.

The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Go over the paperwork we will submit to the INS. We want to make sure there are no errors or misrepresentations.
  • Conduct a verbal "dry run" of the forthcoming events.
  • Take a break between the drive to Fort Erie and the INS office. The employee and family can freshen up, eat something and minimize the travel stress. This rest is particularly useful for employees with children

Step #2: The Drive to the U.S.A.

Follow us through the inspection booth into the Peace Bridge parking lot. We will go in two cars. We will give the passports to the inspector at the booth and advise the inspector as to our purpose.

Step #3: Into the INS Office

We will escort you or your employee into the INS border office. We will present the paperwork to the Free Trade Officer.

Step #4: The Examination and Interview

The proceeding usually takes from twenty to forty minutes.

The Officer will review the paperwork, establish eligibility for the permit and will check computer records for relevant information.  Officers show a high degree of courtesy and efficiency to our clients.

Our goal is to provide complete documentation to show qualification for the permit. We will often take other corporate paperwork with us in case we need to show it.

We strive to present complete and honest information to the authorities.

We strive to present complete and honest information to the authorities. We will not represent a client who we feel does not clearly qualify for the permit. Our goal is to establish a good reputation for ourselves and our clients.

Even if not necessary, we remind our clients to always tell the truth. There are severe sanctions for misrepresentation.

Step #5: Approval

The Officer inserts the permit (a form I-94 card, and a stamp) into the passports.

Step #6: The Drive to Our Office

While at our office, we will give your employee information relating to the new permit. This is to make sure that the employee is aware of the rights and obligations of the permit. We will discuss any issues raised at the border interview, and answer the invariable questions. We feel this is a significant benefit of outsourcing the immigration work to our office. It should save you the time and expense of dealing with these issues yourself.

We will plan options for the future, which can include renewals and/or permanent residency. Employees will often appreciate information about moving household goods, tax planning or other relocation issues. They will often wish to call you from our office to share the good news!

The more motivated applicants will be eager to start U.S. work immediately and will make business calls from our office!

We will be pleased to arrange introductions to any of the area Canada/U.S. Business experts including Mr. Grasmick's key contacts. We have both small and large conference facilities in our office. As members of the nearby Buffalo Club, we can host business meetings at this time, in optimal surroundings.

We can discuss future immigration needs.  This may include going from TN status straight to a Green Card.

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The Bridge's History

The Peace bridge was opened in 1927 to commemorate 100 years of peace between the U.S. and Canada. It made Buffalo the chief port of entry to Canada from the U.S. At the time, it was the only vehicular bridge on the Great Lakes from Niagara Falls to Duluth. The cost was $4.5 million.

The Bridge is one of North America's most important commercial Ports. Four thousand trucks cross the Peace Bridge daily. One million commercial vehicles use it yearly. These vehicles carry almost $7 billion worth of merchandise each year.

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Peace Bridge Memorabilia

Here is a sample from my collection of pre-war period post cards:

PRE-WAR ERA COLOR POSTCARD1. At Canadian Customs(200K GIF file)
PRE-WAR ERA COLOR POST CARD5. The Black Rock Shipping Canal(194K)
6. Aerial View From Ft. Erie(190K)

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2009 Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick
Law Office of Joseph C. Grasmick, Business Immigration
300 International Drive
Williamsville, NY 14221 USA
Tel: 716/842-3100  jgrasmick@grasmick.com

This Internet Web page is http://www.grasmick.com/peacepoe.htm