If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen that was lawfully admitted to the US as a visitor (B Visa), you can file to change your visa to a TN visa while remaining inside the US. This is done by mail with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through Form I-129.
Who can 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 the following conditions are met:
- Canadian or Mexican Citizen, and
- Lawfully admitted as a visitor (As a visa-exempt or on a B visa), and
- Have maintained your visa, and
- Have a valid offer of employment from a US entity under a TN visa profession, and
- You meet the minimum requirements for the TN profession.
Who cannot 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 you change from a visitor visa to a TN Visa?
You can change from a visitor visa to a TN Visa while remaining inside the US by filing USIS Form I-129. You cannot self-petition or be self-employed on a TN visa. Your employer must file a Form I-129 Petition with USCIS 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
- 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
Considerations when changing from a visitor to a TN Visa
If you are considering changing from a visitor 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 abandoned and 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.
Speak with a TN Visa Lawyer