Understanding the intricacies of immigration law can be overwhelming, particularly when it involves renewing a TN visa. This guide will equip you with the information and helpful advice needed to navigate a successful visa renewal experience. So, let’s delve into the realm of TN Visas and discover ways for you to secure your future in the United States.
Application Process for a TN Visa
It’s essential to understand that the process varies based on your citizenship and individual circumstances. Typically, there are three primary ways to obtain a new TN Visa. We have all the information and guidance you need, whether you’re submitting your application at the border by mail, through a U.S. Embassy, or consulate.
Understanding the initial application process makes comprehension of the renewal process simple.
For Mexican Citizens
Mexican citizens must have a valid visa in order to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. You must apply for a TN visa using Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, filed on the Department of State’s website. Eventually, you will attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.
It is advisable to submit your application up to 6 months before your planned employment start date. Once your TN Visa application gets approved, you can apply for admission at CBP-designated US ports of entry or at designated pre-clearance or pre-flight inspection stations.
If Mexican citizens want to enter the United States as TN nonimmigrants, obtaining a TN Visa is the initial process.
When applying for this visa in the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, you must provide documents proving you meet the required work experience criteria for your profession under the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) or NAFTA. These documents may include degrees, diplomas, certificates, professional licenses, and proof of experience or business records.
For Canadian Citizens
If you are a citizen of Canada, obtaining TN status to work in the United States follows an often faster process compared to Mexican citizens. Interestingly, you don’t have to go through the TN Visa application at a U.S. Consulate. A considerable number of Canadians can obtain their TN status within 15 minutes at the U.S. Border.
To obtain a TN Visa from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), eligible Canadian citizens have two options:
1. Applying in person: You have the option to apply for a TN Visa in person at U.S. Ports of entry or qualifying flight inspection points recognized by CBP. It is advisable to complete this process within ten days before your intended employment start date. During the application procedure, you will be required to provide the documents to a CBP officer for entry into the United States.
2. Applying by mail: If you are currently located outside of the United States, your prospective U.S. Employer can submit Form I 129 on your behalf to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They can do so up to six months before your planned employment start date.
Both methods provide opportunities for citizens to secure a TN Visa for working in the United States.
You will need:
- Proof of Canadian Citizenship
- Original Letter of Support from a U.S. Employer/Client
- Original Proof of Qualifications
- Proof of Intent
Although applying for a TN Visa at a port of entry or pre-flight inspection point is quicker in Canada, it can vary in time. It’s advisable to start the process at least two weeks ahead, but ideally, commence up to three months before your employment start date to account for any unexpected delays.
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Understanding Extension of Status (TN Visa Renewal)
The TN Visa can be renewed indefinitely, provided you intend to return to your home country and your services are still needed by the same employer.
To extend your TN Visa validity, you must renew it to ensure your job still meets the visa requirements.
Extension petitions have specific timeframes and processing periods:
- You can file a TN Visa extension or renewal with USCIS up to 6 months before it expires or within 10 days of its expiration.
- Your employer cannot file for an extension earlier than 6 months before your current visa ends.
- Processing times for renewals range from 2 to 7 months.
- A premium processing service, which takes about 15 calendar days, is available for an extra fee.
- TN Visa renewals can be obtained every three years, with no limit on extensions, for as long as required.
Renewing your TN Visa involves a meticulous process. Your employer must submit Form I-129 to USCIS via mail for this purpose.
When submitting a TN Visa renewal (“Extension of Status”) through Form I-129, you need to present proof that:
- The TN Visa status has been maintained.
- The applicant will continue working in a profession that qualifies for a TN Visa.
- The applicant still fulfills the minimum criteria for the TN Visa profession.
There’s also an Automatic 240-day Extension available. If you timely file for a TN Visa renewal with USCIS, you are entitled to stay and work for your current employer in the U.S. for up to 240 days beyond your TN Visa’s expiration date. However, this extension doesn’t apply if:
- You didn’t file before your current TN Visa expired or within the 10-day grace period (although USCIS may consider late filings due to extraordinary circumstances).
- You’re filing TN Visa “Change of Employer” applications.
After USCIS approves your application, they will issue an I-797 Approval notice with a new I-94 card attached. The approval duration can range from one day to three years.
You also have the option to renew your TN Visa in person with the US CBP at eligible US ports of entry and pre-flight inspection, similar to how the initial TN Visa was obtained.
Here’s what you need to know about in-person renewal:
- It’s quick: You can get the TN Visa “Extension of Status” on the same day you apply with CBP. Canadian citizens can typically request a TN Visa renewal with CBP within 10 days of the expected start date.
- It’s cost-effective: When renewing a TN Visa with CBP, you only need to pay the nominal processing fees.
- It’s thorough: Like the mail process, CBP evaluates each application from scratch without considering previous approvals. Be ready to validate your qualifications again.
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How Abogada Ashley Immigration Can Help
Abogada Ashley Immigration has years of experience helping undocumented immigrants obtain legal status, including the TN visa. Our team consists of the immigration attorney Ashley and her staff who can offer support and guidance during every step of the process.
Whether it’s the application or any subsequent appeals or renewals, we’ll be there to assist you and your family. We’ll provide expert advice on the filing options for your specific circumstances, ensuring your application is handled efficiently and accurately.