If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen that was lawfully admitted to the US as a visitor visa holder, you might be able to change your visa to a TN Visa while remaining inside the US. Here’s who can do it, and how it’s done.
Who is allowed to change from a visitor visa to a TN Visa?
You might be able to remain inside the US and change from a visitor visa to a TN Visa if all of the following conditions are met:
- You are a Canadian or Mexican Citizen
- You are lawfully admitted as a visitor (as a visa-exempt or on a B-1 Visitor Visa)
- You have maintained your visa
- You have a valid offer of employment from a US entity under a TN Visa profession
- You meet the minimum requirements for that TN profession
Who is NOT allowed to change from a visitor visa to a TN Visa?
You may not be able to change from a visitor visa to a TN Visa if any of the following conditions apply:
- You have overstayed your visit inside the US by 10 days or more
- You have otherwise violated your visa by working unauthorized
- You have committed a crime
How do I change my visitor visa to a TN Visa?
You can change from a visitor visa to a TN Visa while remaining inside the US by applying for a TN Visa using USCIS Form I-129. You cannot self-petition or be self-employed on a TN Visa, so your employer must file a Form I-129 on your behalf. A petition to change from a visitor visa to a TN visa must include the following supporting evidence:
- Proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship
- Proof of lawful entry to the United States, typically through CBP Form I-94
- A job offer for a qualifying TN profession
- Proof of qualifications for the TN profession
- Proof that you have maintained your lawful status in the US
If you are considering changing from a visitor visa to a TN Visa, keep the following in mind:
- You can file up to 6 months in advance of the intended start date.
- You cannot depart the US while the petition is pending with USCIS. If you depart prior to approval, your petition will be considered “abandoned” and you will be denied.
- You cannot start working for your employer until the petition has been approved by USCIS. For this reason, many opt for 15-day premium processing through USCIS Form I-907.
- If you have dependents, you must also file Form I-539 with USCIS to change their status to TD dependant status.
Additional Outside Resources
- USCIS: I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
- USCIS: I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service
- USCIS: I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
We Can Help!
Don’t know where to start? The TN Visa lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have hundreds of 5-star client reviews and more than 20 years of experience helping TN Visa holders with all aspects of the TN Visa process. We always start with a free case assessment, and offer several levels of TN Visa legal services to fit your needs.