Once a TN worker’s period of authorized stay (as indicated on the I-94) expires, the worker may not continue working or remain in the U.S. There is no grace period following the I-94 expiration date for TN workers under the U.S. immigration laws or regulations. Similarly, when a TN worker’s employment in the United States is terminating prior to the expiration date of the I-94, the TN professional is considered no longer in status and is required to depart the United States upon the cessation of employment.
Unless an extension of status is obtained, TN workers should have their affairs in order and be prepared to depart the U.S. in advance of the expiration date on their I-94 so that they may timely leave the U.S. TN workers must surrender their I-94 to immigration officials upon departure from the U.S. This will ensure that there is a record of a timely departure. We often recommend that our TN clients depart the U.S. a few days in advance of their expiration of authorized stay in order to avoid an overstay. While a small overstay should not be cause for great concern, an extended overstay can cause problems in subsequent admissions to the U.S. Furthermore, individuals who remain in the U.S. for significant periods of time after their period of authorized stay expires are in danger of being subject to what is known as the “3/10 year bar” for unlawful presence.
Unlawful presence is defined as remaining in the United States after the period of stay authorized. If an individual is unlawfully present in the U.S. for six months, and then departs, he or she will be barred from re-admission to the U.S. for 3 years. If an individual is unlawfully present for a year or more, he or she will be barred for 10 years.