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TN Visa Law Blog

By Brian D. Zuccaro, Esq.

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Thursday
Nov062014

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. 

Tuesday
Oct142014

Doctor Faces Criminal Charges for TN Visa Fraud

Unlike under the H-1B visa, Physicians working in the U.S. under TN visa status may only fill teaching or research positions. They cannot provide direct patient care.

Florida doctor is being charged criminally with visa fraud for allegedly utilizing the TN visa Physician category to operate his own medical practice for more than a decade. Apparently this doctor, a Canadian citizen, had applied for a TN under the Physician category claiming he was working in a research position only, and continued to renew his TNs making the same claim. Immigration officials began to investigate the doctor in 2012, and he is now facing criminal charges in a federal court in Florida

It is unusual for a TN visa worker to be charged criminally with visa fraud. In most cases, a TN visa worker's alleged fraudulent act, or visa violation comes to light during inspection by USCBP at a U.S. port-of-entry. If a CBP officer believes some type of violation occurs, the officer will usually deny the individual entry and revoke his/her TN visa status. In more egregious cases, an individual may beexpedited removed (resulting in a 5-year ban to the U.S.), or charged with fraud (a lifetime ban). While still very severe, these are both civil penalties issued directly at the port-of-entry, and are not considered criminal proceedings.

 

Monday
Sep292014

VSC & CBP to Collaborate on TN Visa Adjudication

In July of this year, staff from the Vermont Service Center (VSC) met with officers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (VSC) for a TN collaboration session to share information about their TN adjudication operations. (The VSC is responsible for adjudicating I-129 TN visa petitions, and CBP adjudicates TN applications filed by Canadians at the border.)

According to the VSC’s newsletter, this sharing of information enabled participants to gain “a different and better perspective of various issues related to TN eligibility and border entry processes.” The VSC stated that the “topics discussed and relationships established will lead to more consistent application of TN standards by DHS at the time of adjudication and/or entry by the beneficiary into the United States. See VSC Stakeholders Newsletter (Summer 2014), AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14092646 (posted 9/26/14).

Our office had previously heard informally from some CBP officers that CBP was now contacting the VSC to discuss issues it had with particular TN applications filed at the U.S. port-of-entry. This formal announcement from VSC suggests that CBP will be reaching out to the VSC for guidance on TN applications more often in the future.