TN/TD Canada/Mexico Professionals
Citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to apply for TN status provided they hold the appropriate professional level credentials and the position they intend to occupy in the US qualifies under Schedule 2 of the NAFTA treaty. Only citizens are eligible, not landed immigrants or permanent residents of either country.
Documentation must include proof of citizenship; a letter from the prospective employer describing in detail the dates to be performed to show they are in a professional capacity; licenses; diplomas; degrees; certificates or professional memberships and must affirm professional activity to be engaged in; purpose of entry; anticipated length of stay; beneficiary’s educational qualifications; beneficiary compliance with applicable law; arrangements for remuneration.
A person in TN status may not have the intent to establish permanent residence in the United States. TN status is therefore inappropriate for any individual who clearly has the intent to immigrate permanently. The position can be part-time, but self-employment is not permitted.
Period of authorization and travel. In 2008 the USCIS has increased the limit on TN visas from one to three years (or less, if the employment is for a shorter duration). The rule change likewise extends the limitation for TD dependants to three years. This obviates the need for TN nonimmigrants to continually renew visa status each year. The I-94 may be used for re-entry for any number of times during the year, provided there is no change in the employment or the employer. Canadians do not need a visa. A passport is not necessary unless entering from outside the Western Hemisphere, in which case a passport is required but not a visa.
Change in employment. It is important to recognize that, like the H-1B, TN status is employer specific and even job specific. If there is any change in the position, or if the TN changes employers (including changing from one department to another), a new petition will need to be filed and approved by the USCIS.
TD. The spouse and minor children (under age 21) are admitted to the United States in TD status. Dependents do not need to be Canadian or Mexican citizens or landed immigrants in order to be accorded TD status. Those who enter the US with the TN principal only need proof of their relationship to the TN. Those who enter separately must also present proof of their relationship to the TN as well as a copy of the TN’s I-94 and/or USCIS form I-797 Notice of Approval, and a copy of the employer’s offer letter. All dependents who are not Canadian citizens must have a valid TD visa to be admitted.
TDs are not permitted to be employed in the US under any circumstances. However, if they obtain an offer of professional employment and have the appropriate qualifications, they may apply for their own TN or H-1B status. TDs may attend school at any level, full or part time.