For individuals in the U.S. under a TN Visa, understanding the intricacies of visa expiry and associated grace periods is paramount. This guide delves deep into the legal considerations necessary to safeguard your status in the United States following the termination of employment or as your visa expiration date approaches. By adhering to these guidelines, TN Visa holders can confidently navigate their transition, ensuring compliance with U.S. immigration laws.

Detailed Overview of TN Visa Grace Periods

Understanding the 10-Day Grace Period

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a 10-day grace period to TN Visa holders at the end of their visa status. This grace period is designed to provide a buffer for individuals to either prepare for their departure from the U.S., seek visa renewal, or adjust their status without immediately facing the consequences of overstaying. It is critical to understand that employment during this 10-day window is strictly forbidden if you plan to change employers. This grace period’s initiation is tied to the date specified on your USCIS Form I-797 Approval Notice or the date listed on your I-94 admission record, marking the end of your visa’s validity.

The Extended 60-Day Grace Period Explained

In scenarios where your employment ends while your TN Visa status is still valid, an extended grace period of 60 days may apply. This longer grace period allows you ample time to make informed decisions and take legal steps to maintain your status in the United States. Like the 10-day grace period, you cannot work during these 60 days if you intend to switch employers. The countdown for this grace period begins from your last day of employment and is bound by the expiration dates on either your USCIS Form I-797 Approval Notice or your I-94 record.

Impact of Employment Termination on TN Visa Status

The TN Visa’s validity is closely linked to your employment with a specific employer. Consequently, any significant changes in your employment status, such as job termination, directly impact the validity of your TN Visa. To legally work for a new employer in the U.S., you must obtain a new TN Visa, which involves submitting a fresh application and receiving approval from USCIS.

Renewing Your TN Visa: Timing and Legal Implications

As your TN Visa’s expiration date draws near or passes, a critical 10-day grace period activates, offering a last opportunity to either leave the U.S. or seek an extension of your visa through a renewal application to USCIS. This period is calculated from the final day of your visa’s validity, as denoted in your official immigration documentation.

The Seriousness of Unlawful Presence

Failing to leverage the 10-day or 60-day grace periods or otherwise overstaying your authorized stay results in the accrual of “unlawful presence.” Accumulating unlawful presence carries severe repercussions, including potential bans from re-entering the U.S. for periods ranging from three to ten years or, in some cases, permanent bans, depending on the length of the overstay.

Proactive Steps Post-Employment Loss on a TN Visa

Upon job loss, TN Visa holders should immediately consider the following actions:

  1. Secure a New TN Visa: File a USCIS Form I-129 within the grace period to apply for a new TN Visa with a different employer. It’s crucial not to start working until USCIS has approved.
  2. Change of Status: If applicable, file a USCIS Form I-539 to request a change to a dependent or business visitor status, offering an alternative to maintain legal status.
  3. Exit the United States: If securing new employment or changing your status is not viable, departing the U.S. within the grace period is essential to avoid the pitfalls of unlawful presence.


Maintaining legal status in the U.S. as a TN Visa holder requires meticulous attention to visa expiry dates, employment changes, and the utilization of available grace periods. In complex situations, or if you’re unsure about the best course of action, seeking advice from an immigration attorney can provide tailored guidance suited to your circumstances. This proactive approach ensures compliance with U.S. immigration laws and secures your ability to live and work in the United States.

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