Question: I am already working under TN status in the U.S. I want to change employers, but I want to file for the change of employer through the Vermont Service Center rather than by going to the border. Can I start working with the new employer as soon as I receive my I-797 receipt notice from the VSC?
Answer: No. One advantage the H-1B classification has over the TN is that under the H-1B "portability" rules, an individual already in H-1B status may start employment with a new H-1B employer as soon as the new H-1B petition is received at the USCIS service center. Unlike the portability rules available to H-1B visa workers, individuals in TN status cannot start working with a new TN employer once the VSC has received the I-129 petition for the change in employer.
You will need to wait until the TN petition is approved by the VSC before you may begin employment with the new company. If you need to start employment with the new company immediately, you should consider seeking a TN for the new employer at the border. Alternatively, you could file your I-129 petition with the VSC via premium processing for a decision in fifteen calendar days, but for an additional $1,000 filing fee.
If you have already filed the I-129 petition and want to take advantage of the premium processing option, you still may “upgrade” to premium processing by filing Form I-907 with the Service Center where your Form I-129 is pending. Visit the USCIS website for additional instructions on filing Form I-907 in this situation. If you do not wish to pay the extra filing fee for premium processing, you may also withdraw the currently pending I-129 petition and then apply for a TN with the new employer at the border.
Compare TN status to the H-1B visa.