CBP Update on TN Visas for Multiple Employers

In a recent liaison meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) clarified its process for issuing TN visa status for multiple employers. See CBP Practice Pointer: TNs Working for Multiple Employers, AILA Doc. No. 16091302 (Sept. 13, 2016).

For Canadian citizens, CBP stated that:

  • Applicants should bring a support letter for each employer.
  • For land border applications, CBP will try to list all the approved TN employers on a single I-94 card. If additional I-94 cards are required, CBP will use the same I-94 number for each card.
  • CBP will update its electronic I-94 system to evidence TN approval for all the employers. 
  • For applications filed at an airport CBP office (where no paper-based I-94 form is issued), CBP will update its electronic I-94 system to evidence TN approval for all the employers. 
  • Individuals will only need to pay one filing fee if they file their applications for multiple employers at the same time. (An additional $6 may be required if multiple I-94 records must be used at the land border.)
  • If a TN worker wishes to add an additional employer at a later date, then a second filing fee would be required. 

For Mexican citizens, CBP stated that:

  • Applicants should present a request for multiple employers when applying for their TN visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, which should endorse the visa stamp with the name of the approved employers.
  • Individuals who currently possess a valid TN visa stamp may present a support letter at the U.S. border to request TN status for either a new employer, or to add a concurrent employer.
  • Individuals with approved I-129 petitions may also request a new employer, or add a concurrent employer at the border provided they possess a valid TN visa stamp. 

TN Visa Worker to be Sentenced for Visa Violations

A Texas attorney will be sentenced in November for up to 5 years for making false statements in connection with his TN visa status.

After obtaining TN visa status in 1997 with a law firm, the attorney purchased the law practice in 2000, and became the majority shareholder. He then apparently used that firm to sponsor his TN visa applications for the next 14 years. Questions about his ownership must have been raised as a possible violation of the self-employment prohibitions under TN status. But when asked by investigators in 2014, the attorney falsely told investigators that another attorney was the majority shareholder of the firm. The attorney was later indicted for making false statements in connection with his application.

While there is no bright line test for what will violate the self-employment prohibitions under TN status, a TN visa applicant who is the sole or primary owner of the business generally would run afoul of this restriction. Normally, if U.S. immigration determines that a TN visa applicant is engaging in self-employment, the result will simply be a denial of the application. In more severe cases, there can also be a risk of expedited removal, which carries a 5-year bar to re-entry to the U.S. These are civil penalties. It is rare to see a criminal prosecution in connection with a TN visa, but as we can see with this case, TN visa applicants can face criminal prosecution for egregious misconduct in connection with their visa applications.

I-129 TN Visa Extension Approved - Systems Analyst

TN VisaCase Info.
Background:The applicant, a citizen of Canada, had been working in the U.S. under TN status for the same employer since 2002. He had previous issues regarding meeting the temporary entry requirements for TN status when attempting to his renew at the border. We assisted in overcoming these issues, and the applicant had successfully obtained his renewals by mail with USCIS. The applicant sought another renewal of his TN.
TN Category:Computer Systems Analyst
Job title / duties:The duties of this position involved working on computerized criminal justice information systems.

Education:The applicant possessed a Post-Secondary Diploma in Business Information Systems, and a 2-year Diploma in Business Data Processing. He also had over 20 years of experience.

Filing Process:I-129 TN visa status petition filed with USCIS’ Vermont Service Center
Processing time:Approx. 6 months
Approval period:3 years