TN Visa Status & Foreign Residence

Yes, it is permissible to live in the U.S. under TN status, and without possessing a return ticket. The temporary entry requirements for a TN are less stringent than those for entry as a visitor (B1 or B-2 classification) or as a student (F-1), both of which require maintenance of a foreign residence outside the U.S. Maintenance of a foreign residence is not required under the TN visa classification. The requirements for the TN are that you not enter the U.S. with the intent to remain permanently, and that you abide by the terms of your period of stay (i.e. by departing the U.S. at the expiration of your TN – unless it is renewed / extended). 

The Temporary Entry Requirements for TN Visa Status Do Not Require Maintenance of a Foreign Residence Abroad.

Under INA § 214(e) a Canadian citizen’s admission to the U.S. under TN status is limited to a “temporary entry.”  A temporary entry is defined as “entry without the intent to establish permanent residence.” 8 C.F.R. 214.6 (b). The TN regulations further provide that:

The alien must satisfy the inspecting immigration officer that the proposed stay is temporary. A temporary period has a reasonable, finite end that does not equate to permanent residence. In order to establish that the alien’s entry will be temporary, the alien must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the inspecting immigration officer that his or her work assignment in the United States will end at a predictable time and that he or she will depart upon completion of the assignment. 8 C.F.R. 214.6(b).

The Foreign Affairs Manual adds that an application should reasonably indicate that the applicant's temporary work assignment in the U.S. will end predictably and that the applicant will depart upon completion of the assignment. 9 FAM § 41.59 N5.

Most nonimmigrant categories impose an immigrant intent requirement and require that a nonimmigrant maintain a residence abroad. 9 FAM 41.11 N2.1. Other categories, such as the E visa, have a much lesser standard. Id. Although a TN applicant may not enter the U.S. for purposes of establishing permanent residence, an applicant for a TN is not required to possess a residence abroad. Only the following nonimmigrant categories are subject to the residence abroad requirement: B, F, H (except H-1), J, M, O-2, P and Q. See 9 FAM 41.11 N2.2-1 and 9 FAM 41.31 N2.1. The TN nonimmigrant category therefore falls under the lesser standard of immigrant intent.

Applicants for a TN therefore do not need to maintain the significant ties abroad such as “ties of property, employment, family obligation, and continuity of life” required under the heightened immigrant intent standards as those applicable to the B-1/B-1 visitor category. See 9 FAM 41.61 N5.2.


Revised Oct. 30, 2007.