The TN visa classification was created pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and is for citizens of Canada and Mexico coming to the US to work in professional positions. Canadian citizens seeking TN status in the US can apply directly at the border. However, citizens of Mexico must first apply for a TN visa at the US consulate in Mexico. Once approved, they then apply for admission to the US in TN status at the port of entry (border, airport, etc). When the Mexican foreign national is admitted to the US, he receives an I-94 card, which is stamped with the visa classification (TN) and the date until which he can stay in the United States in TN status.
Once admitted in TN status, how long can I stay?
- If approved, the US consular officer will issue the TN visa for a maximum validity of one year.
- This does not mean however that the Mexican foreign national is only able to stay in the US for that one year period. The validity of the visa does not determine how long she can stay in the US.
- A citizen of Mexico holding a valid TN visa can be admitted to the US for a period of up to three years, as long as his passport will be valid for that long, and as long as he is otherwise admissible.
- The Mexican TN holder can be admitted for a time shorter than three years, if the intended period of employment is less than three years. The intended period of employment should be documented by the letter or other document that is included in the TN application package.
What does this mean for you?
If you are a Mexican foreign national seeking TN status in the US:
- Make sure your Mexican passport is valid for at least three years, so that your stay in the US will not be shortened just because your passport will not be valid.
- Be sure the letter of employment included in your TN application package specifies the length of time that it is intended that you will be employed in the US (not to exceed three years).
- Just because your TN visa has expired does not mean that your TN status has expired. Your status may still be valid, even if your TN visa has expired. If in doubt, be sure to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
As always, this is provided for educational purposes only. This information does not create a client-attorney relationship between you and Sumner Immigration Law. You should consult with an attorney before taking or refraining from taking any action based on this information.