The Limitations of TN Status

TN-1 or TN-2 status may be a convenient and relatively cheap option for Canadian or Mexican professionals who have found employment in the United States. However, there are a few limitations on TN status that the alien should be aware of.


TN status has a maximum period of validity of three years. It may be renewed indefinitely, but it must be done every three years. If an alien wishes to stay beyond the time indicated on their I-94 card, they must seek an extension of stay. This can be done by having their employer filing an I-129 extension petition with the USCIS or by applying at a port of entry using the same application and documentation procedures required at the time of their initial entry.


A TN visa is not a dual intent visa, meaning that applying for permanent resident status can cause issues when traveling outside of the United States or seeking an extension of your TN visa. A pending application for permanent residence can be the basis of an initial denial of TN status. In this respect TN status is unlike H-1B status,wherethe alien may have dual intent without an adverse effect to the alien's non-immigrant or immigrant petition. However, a pending or approved employment based immigrant petition (Form I-140) or family based immigration petition (I-130) does NOT impute immigrant intent. The TN alien is eligible for TN extensions & to be admitted as a TN alien until the adjustment of status application (Form I-485) is filed or the applicant applies for the immigrant visa.

While other types of status holders (such as H-1, L-1 or O-1) may apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) as soon as they wish once entering the country, those of TN status have at least a 30 to 60 day waiting period upon entering the United States before they may apply for AOS. Any applications before this waiting period is over will be considered an attempt to gain fraudulent entry by the USCIS. Additionally, the U.S. consulate may deny a TN visa application if the alien has previous applied for an immigration petition or AOS. Those on TN status who wish to file an I-140 immigration petition should not travel outside of the country because they will encounter issues upon their re-entry. If an alien on TN status has an approved I-140 petition and is currently waiting on their AOS petition to be approved, they must be sure to apply for Advanced Parole to travel outside of the country. For more information on AOS, please click Adjustment of Status.

Source: 8 CFR 214.6


The TD visa does allow for a TN visa holder’s spouse and/or children accompany them to the United States for as long as their authorized status holds out. However, unless specifically authorized, TN dependents on TD visas are not allowed to legally work in the United States. They must obtain their own valid work visa in order to do so.

(Updated 10/10/2012 by AG)

For more information on the TN category, please click one of the following links: