DOS Confirms TN Visa Stamp Valid After Change in Employer

During a recent liaison meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) confirmed that a Mexican citizen's TN visa stamp remains valid despite a change in employer.

For example, if a Mexican citizen working in the U.S. under TN status for company ABC later files an I-129 petition to work for company XYZ, the individual may continue to use his/her TN visa stamp from company ABC for travel until the visa stamp expires. The DOS recommended that such individuals travel with their I-797 approval notice for the new company in case it is requested by U.S. border officials. AILA/DOS Liaison, AILA Doc. No. 16100705 (posted 10/7/16).

New CBP Online I-94 Application/Payment System Not for TN Visas

USCBP has launched a new online system that would allow individuals to submit their biographic and travel information, and pay the $6 I-94 fee online in advance of their travel.

I do not believe this would be of much benefit to TN visa applicants – particularly Canadian citizens – because (1) the new process appears to be geared toward B1/B2 visa visitors (and perhaps F-1 and J-1 visa holders), and not for individuals seeking work authorization at the border (e.g. TN, L-1 visas); (2) CBP will need to conduct more extensive questioning at the border to determine TN visa eligibility; and (3) TN applicants (Canadian citizens) will still need to pay the TN visa status application filing fee ($50) at the border. 

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.