I am a Canadian or Mexican Professional, is the TN visa right for me?
The TN status visa was designed by the U.S. government to expedite the processing of U.S. visas provided to nationals of NAFTA countries. You can think of it as a governmental “welcome” for approved Canadian or Mexican professionals who have found employment in the U.S.
As helpful as the TN status visa is for many individuals, it is not the right visa for every Mexican or Canadian professional with employment in the U.S. We encourage you to contact our experienced U.S. immigration attorneys for a FREE consultation.
What should I consider when deciding whether the TN NAFTA visa is right for me?
TN Visa Duration
TN status visas have a maximum valid status for a period of three years. Your TN visa may be renewed indefinitely, but nonetheless, it must be done every three years. It is important to note that if you apply for renewal, you must do that before your valid status expires. If you are a foreign national and wish to remain in the U.S. for longer than the period allowed on your I-94, then you must apply for an extension with USCIS. This can be accomplished in two ways. You can have your employer file an extension petition with USCIS, or apply yourself at a port of entry using the same application and documents required at the time of your initial entry.
Immigrant Intent May Bar You
The TN visa was specifically designed for Canadian and Mexican professionals who want to work in the U.S., but do not have the intent to immigrate here to live permanently or become U.S. citizens. This means that unlike some visa categories, the TN visa is not a dual intent visa. If you apply for permanent resident status, that indicates to the USCIS that you have “immigrant intent.” This demonstration of your immigrant intent will create problems for you when you travel outside of the United States or seek an extension of your TN visa. Your TN status application or renewal can be denied based on your previous or pending application for permanent residence. For more information on immigrant intent, please read more here.
Waiting Period to Apply for a Green Card
Individuals in the U.S. with a valid TN status visa have to wait from 30-60 days upon entering the United States before they may apply for an Adjustment of Status. It is important to note that the USCIS will view any applications before this waiting period is over as an attempt to gain fraudulent entry to the U.S.
Can my Spouse and Children work in the U.S. while I am on TN status?
You can bring your spouse and children to the U.S. on a TD visa. However, TN visa holder dependents in the U.S. on TD visas are not allowed to legally work in the United States. To be legally employable in the U.S., the TD visa holder would have to obtain his or her own valid work visa.
What is the application process for the TN visa?
There is a different application process for citizens of Mexico than the much easier application method available only to Canadian citizens. Read more about the application process for applying for a TN-1 Visa for Canadian professionals and the TN-2 Visa for Mexican professionals.
If you have additional questions about the TN NAFTA visa, contact our immigration attorneys in Los Angeles now for a free consultation.