As discussed in a prior post, U.S. consulates are supposed to annotate Mexican citizens' TN visa stamps with the applicant's proposed period of work (i.e. up to 3 years) based on the length of time requested in the individual's TN visa application.
As shown in the TN visa stamp below, the U.S. consulate in Monterrey has been properly annotating applicants' TN visa stamps. In the example below, the consulate issued this TN visa stamp with a 1-year validity period, but also properly annotated the visa to indicate that the employer sought the applicant's services for the full 3-year period authorized.
However, as shown in the TN visa stamp below, despite the employer's indication of its intent to engage the applicant under TN status for the full 3-year period, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City did not annotate this applicant's TN visa stamp. Either the embassy has not yet implemented this practice, or embassy officers have neglected to insert this notation in some applicants' TN visa stamps.
In order to facilitate the issuance by USCBP of a 3-year I-94 at the border, TN visa applicants should request that consular officers annotate their TN visa stamps with the 3-year period of stay requested in their TN visa application materials. Otherwise, as happened with the individual above, the USCBP officer at the border may incorrectly limit the applicant's I-94 card to a 1-year validity period based on the 1-year validity period of the TN visa stamp. This then requires the filing of an I-129 petition to extend the I-94, or the filing for a new TN visa stamp at the U.S. consulate.
There is also the possibility of correcting this issue at the border. According to recent guidance from USCBP, citizens of Mexico may request a 3-year I-94 by returning to the border during the validity period of their TN visa stamp and by presenting an employer's letter requesting the 3-year period of stay. The individual's passport would also need to be valid for the 3-year period as well. See AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12012347 (Posted 01/23/12).