January 11, 2011
Can I File my Case in Buffalo?
Q. I read your column all the time. Please help as I do not know what to do .I am here in Canada now two years and the court denied my refugee case. I think I have enough points to apply as independent. I went to a representative to see if I can file an application in Buffalo and he said yes. Other people though tell me that I cannot file in Buffalo and I am not sure what should I do? Pay the representative to file in Buffalo or take some other people’s advice and file in my home country?
A. This is a very good question. Unfortunately the law is clear and you cannot file in Buffalo if I am making the right assumption in your case. That is you came to Canada and claimed refugee status and were not admitted to Canada legally for at least one year. Only those who came to Canada with a valid visa for at least one year can file in Buffalo. All others must file in the countries of their citizenship or where they reside legally. If you did have lawful visitor, student or employment status for one year that you can file in Buffalo and the issue may then be obtaining a visitor visa to enter the United States if an interview is necessary. This can be a problem. Otherwise, there may be other ways to file a legal application. Make sure you are only seeking advice from lawyers and licensed consultants. Thank you for your question.