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TN (Professionals Under NAFTA)

 

Work Authorization

  • Work only in the authorized place of employment and for the period approved in your TN invitation letter and I-94. If your job ends sooner than the invitation letter end date, your status ends on the same day. See Grace Periods below.
  • Have the department notify OIS if significant change in duties, responsibilities, salary or work site is expected during your authorized employment. An amended petition may be necessary.
  • Do not accept additional employment or work at an additional location without consulting with OIS in advance. 
  • You can have more than one TN sponsor, but this requires either a separate I-129 filing to USCIS or a reentry with new employer sponsor letters shown to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

 

Immigration Documents

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times, valid for at least six months into the future.
  • Retain copies of all immigration documents including: current and expired passports, Forms I-797, I-94, etc.
  • If you received a Form I-797, there is a fee to request a duplicate notice, if lost. OIS maintains your original in our office.
  • I-94: Always review and save your new I-94 after reentry at: www.cbp.gov/I94. 
    • Form I-94 must indicate "Admitted as: TN" and “Admitted until date” that matches your invitation letter or I-797 approval.
    • Note: Individuals from Mexico entering the U.S. in TN status are often entered for only 1 year.
    • Incorrect end date: If your I-94 indicates any other expiration date, contact OIS.  Passport expiry within six months is a common reason for a shortened I-94. If this occurs, consult with OIS.

 

Renewals and Validity Period

  • Your department will need to initiate the TN extension process 2-4 months prior to your TN expiry date. Keep in mind that TN status can be extended indefinitely in three year increments.

 

Intent

  • TN status is a non-immigrant status, which means your intent to remain in the United States is temporary. If your department is interested in sponsoring you for permanent residency, contact OIS to discuss possible options. You may also consult our “Use of Attorneys Policy” and “UIC Sponsorship of Permanent Immigrant Visas” information.

 

TDs

  • TD dependents are not eligible to work, or volunteer to work. They may attend school. Consult OIS if you have questions.

 

Address Changes

 

Taxes

  • Individuals in TN status are required to file both state and federal taxes.

 

Travel and Visa Process

  • Canadian Citizens:
    • No visa stamp is required for entry to the U.S.
    • Present the following at the port of entry: TN invitation letter completed by the department and approved by OIS, valid Canadian passport, TN application fee, evidence of degree showing that you qualify for the position, evidence that your stay is temporary in nature.
  • Mexican Citizens:
    • Visa stamp required – review required consulate-specific documents.
    • Schedule an appointment with the U.S. Consulate/Embassy and complete Form DS-160 with fee. 
    • Review consulate/embassy website for guidance about required documents. We suggest bringing:
      • Passport (valid for six months beyond reentry date)
      • TN invitation letter completed by the department and approved by OIS
      • Evidence of degree showing you qualify for the position
      • Evidence that your stay in the U.S. remains temporary in nature
  • TD dependents:
    • In addition to the above, they should bring proof of their dependent status (marriage or birth certificate) as well as evidence that their stay remains temporary.

 

Grace Periods

  • You have a 10-day grace period after the end date of your stay in TN status. You may not work during this period; it is time to prepare to leave the U.S., change status, etc.
  • If your department ends your employment before end date of the TN invitation you may remain in the U.S. for 60 days, or until your petition end date (whichever is sooner) and have a new sponsor file a petition for you. See “portability” below.

 

Portability

  • It is possible to “port”/“transfer” your TN status to another employer; the new employer will file a Form I-129 on your behalf. Employment should be continuous from UIC to the next employer. If your department ends your employment early, you may have up to 60 days to remain in the country and seek other employment. You may not work or volunteer during the transitional time. Your future TN sponsor will advise you on this process and notify you when you may begin your new employment. Alternatively, you could travel to change employers.

 

Departure

  • You must submit a Departure Verification Form upon completion of employment. This form is required regardless of your departure reason: leaving the U.S., changing employers, or changing immigration status.

 

Unlawful Presence

  • This occurs when you stay beyond the ending date of your I-94 or upon determination by Department of Homeland Security. Consequences include a 3-year bar from reentering the U.S. if you have stayed unlawfully in the U.S. for 180 days or more, and a 10-year bar if you remain unlawfully in the U.S. for 360 days or more. Violation of your TN status makes you ineligible for any immigration benefits. This does not apply if a timely, non-frivolous petition to extend your stay has been received by the USCIS prior to the end date of your I-94.