TN Visa to Green Card Approval - Marriage to U.S. Citizen

Green CardCase Info.
Case History / Issues:Applicant was a Canadian citizen, and held TN visa status. Applicant subsequently married a U.S. citizen.
Strategy:Reviewed case to ensure no preconceived intent issues, or potential employment gap or travel issues. Determined applicant was a good candidate for Adjustment of Status.
Filing Process:I-130 / I-485 application @ USCIS - Chicago Lockbox
Filed:Dec. 26, 2013
Biometrics Scheduled:Jan. 24, 2014
Employment Authorization / Travel Card Issued:March 6, 2014
Interview Date:On March 11, 2014 at USCIS' San Diego, CA local office. The officer issued a Request for Evidence seeking additional proof of the bona fides of the applicant's marriage. Our office assisted in responding to this request, and the case was subsequently approved.
Green Card Received:June 19, 2014
Processing Time:5 months, 25 days
TN Visa Category:Economist

Concurrent TNs Under New I-94 Automation System

Under the government's new I-94 record keeping system, individuals who enter the U.S. under TN visa status no longer will receive a paper I-94 record. Instead, they will receive a stamp in their passport reflecting their TN status and admission period. Individuals can then later obtain their I-94 information online. (The new I-94 system is currently only implemented at airport CBP offices.)

The I-94 information available online only provides a single I-94 number. What happens if a TN visa worker has two employers, i.e. has concurrent TNs? Current practice at most land borders is to issue different I-94 cards (with different numbers) for each TN employer. This readily documents the individual’s TN employment authorization for each employer. How will concurrent TN employment be evidenced in the I-94 online system, which provides only one I-94 number?

According to a recent liaison meeting between AILA and the Buffalo, NY CBP office, immigration officers can see in its computer systems when multiple I-94s have been issued under the new I-94 record system. CBP Buffalo Field Office & Upstate NY AILA Chapter Meeting, Oct. 20, 2014. Presumably then, even though the I-94 online system will show only one I-94 number, CBP will be able to see if an individual was issued a concurrent TN I-94s. 

Nevertheless, for individuals applying for concurrent TNs at airport CBP offices, I think it would be good practice to request written proof of the concurrent TN approvals. For example, applicants can request that notation stamps for both TN employers be made on their passport. If separate I-94 numbers do exist in this scenario, then it may also be prudent to request that the officer provide both I-94 numbers to the applicant.  

USCIS to Change How it Issues Notices

Effective January 27, 2015, DHS will make the following 6 changes to its regulations governing how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue correspondence, notices of decisions, and documents evidencing lawful status.   

  • USCIS will send notices only to the applicant or petitioner when the applicant or petitioner is not represented by an attorney.
  • When an applicant or petitioner is represented by an attorney, USCIS will send notices to the person or entity who filed the benefit request and to the attorney.
  • Depending on the particular benefit sought, an applicant or petitioner may request that USCIS send original notices and documents only to the attorney with a courtesy copy being sent to the applicant or petitioner.
  • For applications or petitions filed electronically, USCIS will notify both the applicant or petitioner, and the attorney electronically of any notices or decisions. No electronic notice will be given if the applicant or petitioner requests to receive paper notices, or if USCIS determines that issuing a paper notice or decision is warranted.
  • USCIS will only send Form I-797, Notice of Action, as an approval notice with a tear-off I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, to the applicant's or petitioner's attorney, unless the applicant or petitioner specifically request that USCIS send it to his/her mailing address.
  • USCIS will only send original secure identification documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards and Employment Authorization Documents, to the applicant or petitioner, unless notified to send the document to his or her attorney.   

These changes are relevant within the TN visa context for individuals requesting TN status by mail on Form I-129 (the affected documents being the I-797 notice), and for TN workers filing for green cards (the affected documents being I-797 notices, Advance Parole/Employment Authorization cards, and Green Cards).