What is the TN?
TN is a nonimmigrant classification created under the the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) and granted to qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the U.S. to engage in business activities at a professional level.
Who is eligible for a TN?
To qualify for a TN, you must:
- Be a Canadian or Mexican citizen;
- Have a part-time or full-time job offer with a U.S. Employer in a TN-eligible profession; and
- Meet the qualifications to practice the profession. Check out the link for a list of eligible professions and required qualifications.
How do I apply for the TN?
A Canadian citizen could either apply for the TN directly at the border with supporting documents or file Form I-129 for a TN petition with USCIS first and present USCIS approval at the border for admission. A Mexican citizen could either apply for the TN at a U.S. embassy or consulate and get a TN visa stamp or file Form I-129 for a TN petition with USCIS first and present USCIS approval at a U.S. embassy or consulate for visa stamping.
Is TN eligible for premium processing?
Yes. Premium processing is an expedited service where you can receive a final decision within 15 days of filing for eligible case types, unless a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) is issued. A TN petition is eligible for premium processing.
Do I need a visa stamp in my passport?
Mexican citizens need to apply for a TN visa in their passport at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Canadian citizens are visa exempt, meaning that they do not require a TN visa stamp.
How long can I stay in the U.S. in TN status?
You can stay up to three years for the initial entry.
Can I extend my stay?
Yes. If you are a Canadian citizen and your TN status is about to expire, you can simply leave and re-enter the U.S. with updated supporting documents. But for a Mexican citizen, you need to either apply for a new visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate or your employer may file Form I-129 for you to seek an extension of stay. TN can be renewed indefinitely, in three-year increments.
Can my family join me in the U.S.?
Yes, your spouse and children under the age of 21 are eligible for the TD nonimmigrant status. They are not allowed to work in the U.S. but can go to school. They could apply for TD abroad, at the border or at a U.S. embassy or consulate depending on their citizenship, or, if they are in the U.S., file I-539 for change of nonimmigrant status to TD with USCIS. If you seek to extend your stay as a TN nonimmigrant, your eligible family members can also seek to extend their stay by filing I-539 with USCIS.
Does my spouse or dependent qualify for TD if they are not a Canadian/Mexican citizen?
Yes. TD imposes no requirement on citizenship as long as your spouse or dependent can show proof of relationship with you, the TN nonimmigrant, and proof of you maintaining the TN status. Whether your spouse or dependent requires a visa stamping depends on their citizenship though.
Can I change to a different job for the same employer under TN status?
Yes, and your employer should file for a TN amendment if you would be providing a different kind of professional services qualified for TN. However, a mere transfer to a different branch or office does not require a new TN.
Can I change to a new employer in TN status?
Yes, your employer can file Form I-129 with USCIS to request a change of employer but you cannot start working on the new job until your petition is approved. Alternatively, a Canadian citizen can apply for a new TN at the border with supporting documents for the new job. A Mexican citizen can also apply for a new TN at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Can I go to school in TN status?
Yes, you may attend school provided that it is incidental to your employment in the U.S. In other words, study cannot be your primary purpose for staying in the U.S.
Can I work part-time in TN status?
Yes, you can work on a part-time basis but only for your TN employer. No secret side jobs!
Can I work for multiple employers in TN status?
Yes, you may work for multiple employers at the same time. You will need appropriate work authorization for each employer.
What if I am terminated in TN status?
If this happens, you have a 60-day grace period or until the end of your authorized validity period, whichever is shorter, to find a new job and file a TN petition for change of employer, depart the U.S., or change status.
Can I change from TN to O-1 status?
Yes, if you are in the U.S., you may submit a petition to change nonimmigrant status to O-1 by filing Form I-129 with USCIS. Your spouse and dependent in the U.S. should file Form I-539 for change of status to O-3. If you are outside the U.S., you can submit an O-1 petition for consular processing by filing Form I-129 with USCIS. Once it is approved, a Mexican citizen may present the approval at the U.S. embassy or consulate for visa stamping and a Canadian citizen may present the approval at border for admission. Your spouse and dependents can use your approval for their O-3 application.
Can I file an EB-1 or EB-2 National Interest Waiver ( NIW) while in TN status?
Yes, although TN is a nonimmigrant classification without dual intent, a pending or approved I-140 immigration petition does not impute immigrant intent. If you have valid TN status, you can still travel abroad and re-enter the U.S. after an EB-1 or EB-2 NIW petition is filed with USCIS, and even after approval of the EB-1 or EB-2 NIW.
Can I apply for a green card when I am under TN status?
Yes, you may file I-485 “green card” application when your priority date is current. But given that TN visa is a nonimmigrant classification without dual intent, we recommend you to wait at least 90 days from your last entry in TN before you file Form I-485 just to avoid a conflict in intent. You should avoid international travel while your I-485 is pending unless your Advance Parole has been issued, which usually takes 4-6 months.