TN Visa Status & Work Authorization for Children

Question: I was born in Montreal. I lived for over 45 years in the Netherlands (Holland-Dutch) and got married there & have 3 kids. My kids and I have Dutch & Canadian passports. My wife only has a Dutch passport. I accepted a job in California as an engineer. I accepted the job at the Dutch based firm in the Netherlands. I have a contract with the firm in the Netherlands and I have a contract with the Californian based subsidiary. I have a TN visa in my CDN passport, my wife a TD visa in her Dutch passport, and 2 of the 3 children that are here in California with us have a TD visa in their CDN passport. They will attend school. We would like them to have a job too. Do you see visa related possibilities for my kids to get to work in the USA? Changing my visa? Changing the kids visa to TN?

Answer: If your children change from TD to F-1 student status, they may be able to obtain work authorization in certain situations such as part-time on-campus employment. They would also be eligible for one year of work authorization after completing their studies.  

Otherwise, your children will have to qualify for a non-immigrant worker category on their own right based on their education and experience. In most cases they will need a bachelor's degree to qualify. If they’re Canadian citizens the best bet is to look at the TN visa category. The other prevalent non-immigrant worker category, the H-1B visa, is not available until April 1, 2008 for a start date of October 1, 2008. H-1B visas are also subject to a yearly numerical limit and were exhausted on the first day available last year. So the H-1B category may not be the most viable solution.

The majority of non-immigrant categories do not provide work authorization for dependents. A few do permit work authorization for spouses.  These include the E-1 treaty trader and E-2 investor categories, the L-1 transferee visa category, and the E-3 visa category for citizens of Australia. If your wife is interested in working, the L-1 visa may be worth looking into further considering you transferred from a foreign company to a U.S. subsidiary. None of these categories provide work authorization for dependent children.