Amazon SDE in Vancouver transferring to Seattle on an L1B Visa: POE or US Consulate?
It's over a year later and I'm an SDE within one of Alexa's organizations in Amazon's Vancouver office, where I've been for 1 year and 3 months. I'm still uncredentialed, but am in the process of transferring within my organization to a different team in Seattle on an L1B Visa. As far as L1B's "specialized knowledge" requirement, I believe my argument is more solid than the average Amazon inter-country transferee, not least because I'm transferring within one of Alexa's suborganizations and I've accumulated very specific domain knowledge that is a blackbox to everyone else within this suborganization. This includes the team I'm joining, where having someone with this experience is a unique boon. I was warned by the Amazon immigration law firm there's some risk due to the lack of diploma, *despite no formal educational requirement for the L1B.*
My questions are regarding how best to apply for the L1B: at a POE or a US Consulate? + other relevant tactics.
Here are the facts:
- The lawyer at this Amazon law firm is suggesting that since I'm a Canadian citizen and this is a Blanket L1 petition, I should apply directly at the Port of Entry to avoid having to wait for an appointment at the consulate. According to this online wait time calculator, the US Consulate in Vancouver showed a 26 day wait time yesterday, 110 days today, and other consulates such as Calgary and Halifax are currently showing as little as 3 days. The firm said there's a bunch of internal processing that will take 45 days, and I'm assuming that the "wait" would start after that, if I go the consulate route.
- I'm not 100% sure whether interviewing at a consulate is an option yet (Vancouver or otherwise - I'm willing to fly), but would like to tease out the pros and cons in my case for the POE. The obvious pro is no wait time; I show up at the border and take a stab at applying. I'd prefer not to wait longer than I already have to learn whether this transfer will succeed, but if there's a compelling argument that the POE would be significantly riskier in my situation, I'd like to hear it. For example, a teammate of mine mentioned that US consulates are the more desirable job positions for prospective officers and so I can expect more professional approaches to the proceedings. Hence, the lack of degree is less likely to factor in than at a POE since it's not technically required for the L1B - at the POE I may get someone who'll immediately pounce on the diploma thing and reject the petition without much consideration. Another possible difference is the consulate would receive the petition package ahead of my in-person arrival (I'm assuming), so there's less risk of a rash decision. The flip-side of that is offering them that extra "mulling time" may backfire, in allowing a bias to develop. I'm also weighing calling the POE ahead of my arrival to prime them for my petition.
- I'm unclear what incentives the law firm is acting on. Are they just trying to process my case and be done with it, agnostic to its success? Hence pushing the faster POE option? The counter-argument is that so far there doesn't seem to be any hurry from their end. e.g. the 45 day figure came from the paralegal; the lawyer didn't know about it.
A less related follow-up question: Will the CBP accept it if I apply at the POE, and assuming I get an approval, turn around and return to Vancouver for a couple of days to weeks, and then make the final move after? Or will they not take kindly to this plan? Otherwise, it's likely I'll be without residence in both countries on that crucial day and the days that follow.
Any thoughts are appreciated.