L-2 nonimmigrants traveling separately from their L-1 spouse/parent recently have reported being placed in secondary inspection by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) when initially entering or returning to the United States in L-2 status. L-2 nonimmigrants are the dependent family members of intra-company transferees holding L-1 status.

The CBP has confirmed that L-2 nonimmigrants are being placed in secondary inspection if they are not able to present copies of the L-1 nonimmigrant’s valid Form I-94 record (or Form I-797 Approval Notice with I-94) and endorsed Form I-129S. This change in required documentation impacts the dependents of L-1 visa holders who applied for their visas based on their employer’s approved “Blanket L” visa petition, without obtaining separate L-1 petition approval from U .S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) in the United States.

The Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is normally maintained electronically by CBP and can be accessed via the CBP I-94 web page for those who last entered the United States by air or sea. Those who last entered the United States via a land border crossing should be issued a paper Form I-94 card. Foster encourages individuals to print their I-94 record as soon as possible to review it for accuracy and the expiration date of status in the U.S.

Because of the new CBP procedure, L-1 nonimmigrants should ensure that their family members are provided a copy of their endorsed Form I-129S and most recent I-94 Arrival/Departure record before international travel. The L-2 dependent family members will need to present these items when returning to the United States. Arrival without these items likely will result in a longer wait when going through the secondary inspection process at the airport.