Who qualifies as a TN?
The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (formerly North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
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Consult IFSS. We will advise on a case by case basis.
There are two ways to obtain or extend TN non-immigrant status:
- Outside the U.S. (most common)
Obtaining or extending TN status while outside the U.S. is much less cumbersome process than filing a petition. To start this type of TN process, follow Step 1 below (Step 2 is not required) and email forms to IFSS at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will accept one form at a time, a few at a time, or all forms at the same time; whichever is easier for you. For Canadians: The employee takes the approved TN letter (drafted by the Department and reviewed and approved by IFSS), along with any other relevant documentation (offer letter, CV, degree copies, transcripts, etc.) and presents it directly at Class A ports of entry to the U.S. or at pre-flight stations in Canada. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the authority to grant or deny TN status, or request additional information. Once the employee is admitted into the U.S., Form I-94 should designate TN status and the length of time their TN status is valid. Please have the employee send us a copy of their I-94 for our records. For Mexicans: The employee takes the approved TN letter (drafted by the Department and reviewed and approved by IFSS), along with any other relevant documentation, to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad and applies for the TN visa stamp. Once the employee receives their TN visa stamp and is inside the U.S., Form I-94 should designate TN status and the length of time their TN status is valid. Please have the employee send us a copy of their I-94 for our records. All potential TN holders, Canadian or Mexican, must demonstrate they:
- Are a citizen of Mexico or Canada (landed permanent residents are not eligible for TN status)
- Have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S. (for example: an offer letter from the UW employing department or employment verification letter)
- Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials (for example: CV/resume, degree certificate, or transcripts)
- Will fill a position that qualifies as a profession listed on the USMCA Chapter 16 Appendix 2 (for example: a position description, copy of certified LCA)
- Inside the U.S. (less common)
Filing a petition to obtain or extend TN status inside the U.S. is very similar to the H-1B process, will include more paperwork, and will cost the Department filing fees. To start the TN process inside the U.S., you should complete Steps 1 and 2 (below) and email forms to IFSS at email@example.com. We will accept one form at a time, a few at a time, or all forms at the same time; whichever is easier for you.
STEP 1 – EVALUATION OF TN ELIGIBILITY
The first step in the TN process is to determine that the position and the employee are both eligible for TN status. To determine if the position is eligible for TN sponsorship, please see the list of appropriate TN professions and their minimum qualifications in USMCA Chapter 16 Appendix 2.
As soon as you know who the TN will be for, submit the following:
- Department Request Form. Be sure to fill in all relevant information. If an employee has held a position at the UW before, look up the EmplID in HRS and include that on the form. Questions on this form should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also, at this time, send the following form to your applicant/employee so they can start gathering the required documentation needed for Step 2:
- Employee Intake Form ((formerly the Beneficiary Information Form). A checklist of required documentation is on the last few pages of this form.*When obtaining of extending TN status outside the U.S., even though we don’t do Step 2, please have your employee still complete the Employee Intake Form and submit relevant documentation so that we can verify the employee is still eligible for TN status since there is no external USCIS review. Don’t forget to request the filing fees at this time! See below.
STEP 2 – PREPARATION OF THE TN PETITION
This step is only if you are obtaining or extending TN status inside the U.S. This step is NOT required if the employee is obtaining or extending TN status outside the U.S.
You will need to gather the Employee Intake Form and the employee’s documents. IFSS will review documents and fill in Form I-129. IFSS will prepare the final TN petition, once the following documents are received:
- Copy of the Employee Intake Form
- Copies of all the employee’s documentation
- UPS or FedEx mailing label so that IFSS can securely mail the petition to USCIS. See below for mailing options and addresses.
Dependents (TD status)
For immigration purposes, dependents are the legally married spouse and/or any children under the age of 21.
This is only needed if the employee’s dependents are inside the U.S. and need to obtain or extend TD status.
- Form I-539
- Suggested documentation to include with the I-539 application can be found in the Employee Intake Form.
- Filing fee
- Paid by the employee and cannot be reimbursed by the UW
- Personal check or money order from a U.S. Bank is acceptable, made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Dependents who are outside the U.S. do not need to file the I-539. These dependents obtain TD status by requesting a visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy and presenting the certified LCA or employee’s approval notice (the I-797A or B) along with the marriage certificate (for spouses) or birth certificate (for children under the age of 21).
IMPORTANT: IFSS cannot advise on the Form I-539 since it is the employee’s family member(s)’s personal petition. We cannot give legal advice to an employee’s family member(s). As a courtesy to the employee, we will send the Form I-539 with the supporting documentation along with the employee’s TN petition only. We will not review the I-539 for completeness or for errors. We will not submit the I-539 if we are not filing an I-129 petition for the employee. The I-539 can be filed separately from the employee’s TN petition. If your employee’s dependent(s) would like assistance on the I-539, please direct them to an immigration attorney. IFSS can provide a list of local attorneys, if requested.
NOTE: if obtaining or extending TN status outside the U.S., there are no filing fees. The employee should be aware that there will be other fees, however. Mexicans will be charged a visa application fee at the consulate. Canadians will be charged a fee at Customs (approximately $50-$60). Those fees are not reimbursable through the UW; they are personal fees the employee must pay.
If obtaining or extending TN status inside the U.S.:
- All checks must be separate and payable to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- To request a check through Accounting, follow the normal procedures in your Department.
All check requests must be accompanied with this pre-signed Check Custodian Form. Accounting Services will contact IFSS to pick-up the checks when they are ready.
Standard Processing Fee
- Required for all petitions
- University check only
Premium Processing Fee
This additional fee will guarantee that USCIS will be make a decision in 15 calendar days.
NOTE: this does not guarantee an approval. A decision can be an approval, a Request For Evidence (RFE), a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or a denial.
To request premium processing, please provide IFSS with the following:
- Premium Processing Form
- For business related reasons, Department Contact should sign.
- Absent a business related reason, some employees may be able to pay for premium processing on their own (if they choose to do so). Please consult IFSS so we can check the employee’s eligibility to pay this fee. For personal requests, applicant/employee should sign.
- We can upgrade to premium processing at any time. It is not required to be submitted with the initial petition.
- Consult IFSS if you have questions regarding this.
- Filing fee
- For business related reasons, Department check only.
- For personal reasons, a personal check or money order from a U.S. bank
MAILING THE PETITION
NOTE: For those employees obtaining or extending TN status outside the U.S., a mailing label is not needed.
Preferred couriers that pick up daily at 21 N. Park Street already (no need to schedule a pick-up):
USCIS Vermont Service Center
Attn: I-129 TN
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001
Premium Processing Service
USCIS Vermont Service Center
Attn: I-129 TN
30 Houghton Street
St. Albans, VT 05478-2399
US Postal Service
IFSS will prepare the mailing label for these shipments.
MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR TN EMPLOYEE’S APPOINTMENT/WORK LOCATION/FTE/ETC.?
Fill out the Amendment Petition Determination Form. IFSS will evaluate whether or not we need to amend the TN before those changes can occur.
NOTE: It’s very important to notify us at least 1-2 months prior to changes occurring.