The applicant had worked in the U.S. under TN visa status for nearly ten years. His prior attorney filed an I-129 petition requesting an extension of TN status. USCIS, referring to the applicant’s length of time in the U.S. as a TN, responded with a Request for Further Evidence (RFE) requesting proof that the applicant met the temporary entry requirements for the TN visa classification. USCIS requested the following three items:
1. A statement regarding the employer’s temporary need for services indicating how long the employer anticipated needing the applicant’s services.
2. A statement from the applicant regarding his plans for permanent departure from the U.S.
3. The work contract between the employer and the applicant.
The applicant contacted our office for advice on how to respond to the RFE. Because the applicant was married to a U.S. citizen, and had decided to now remain in the U.S. permanently, we recommended that his wife sponsor him for a green card. We prepared the I-130 immigrant petition, and Adjustment of Status application, along with an application for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and filed the application with USCIS.
In order to maintain the applicant’s employment authorization, we filed an application requesting expedited processing of his EAD application due to business necessity. Normally the EAD application takes between 30 – 90 days to be issued, but based on our expedited request, we were able to obtain the EAD in a matter of weeks. Within approximately three months after filing his Adjustment of Status application, the applicant attended his adjustment interview at the local USCIS office. The following week he received his green card application approval notice.
This case illustrates that TN visa workers who have spent a substantial amount of time in the U.S. should evaluate whether they can still meet the temporary entry requirements for the TN visa classification. USCIS appears to have intensified its enforcement of the temporary entry requirements for the TN visa classification. We have received several calls lately from long-term TN visa workers who have received an RFE like the one above.
If an individual cannot meet the temporary entry requirements for the TN visa category, he or she may have to depart from the U.S., or pursue other immigration options. To avoid complications and abrupt changes in employment and residence, individuals should develop a strategy before USCIS or CBP starts to question them on the temporary entry requirement.