The TN category is special category of non-immigrant status created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for qualifying professionals who are nationals of Canada or Mexico. Aliens qualified to enter the U.S. under this category may work for a company located in the U.S. for a temporary period. Moreover, they may also work for a Canadian or Mexican company in the U.S. when those companies are engaged in projects with U.S. based companies. The initial time limit for a TN professional to work in the U.S. is three years with possible extensions of stay for another three years.
An alien must possess the necessary credentials to be considered a qualifying professional under this category. Generally, a Bachelor's degree or higher is usually required to be considered a professional in the TN category. Mexican nationals are required to have TN visas before they may be admitted to the U.S. in this status, whereas Canadian nationals need only apply with the USCIS at the border and bypass the visa requirement.
TN visas are non-immigrant visas; and thus the alien must intend to depart the U.S. upon completion of his authorized status. If the alien applies for adjustment of status while he is in TN status he will have difficulty in obtaining renewal of his TN status. However, the filing or approval of an immigrant petition (I-130, I-140, PERM) does NOT impute immigrant intent. Thus, employment based petitions (NIW, EB1, etc)& family based petitions may be filed on behalf of the TN alien without disruption of the TN alien’s status or endangering the TN alien’s ability to obtain or extend the TN status. The TN alien will continue to be eligible for TN status until an adjustment of status applicationis filed (Form I-485). Once an AOS application is filed, the TN alien will no longer be eligible for admission or an extension of stay as a TN nonimmigrant.
In 2008, the USCIS extended the renewal period of a TN visa from one year to three years.
(Updated 10/10/2012 by AG)
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