Timeline

TN Visa Timeline

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Your company wishes to hire a Canadian or Mexican citizen to work as a ‘professional’ and the foreign worker requires a work visa.

What is the Timeline to Apply for and Obtain a TN Visa?

A. Canadians

If the foreign worker is a Canadian citizen the issuance of a TN visa requires processing by either United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Customs and Border Protection. In general, the typical timeline for TN visa processing is as follows:

  1. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Processing

    The TN petition is filed with the USCIS. The USCIS issues a receipt notice to the petitioner (U.S. company) and attorney. Since each TN petition differs in terms of complexity, the decision time can vary. Once approved, the USCIS issues an approval notice to the petitioner and attorney.

    Receipt Notice Issued: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Approval Notice Issued: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Total Time to Process: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    *The TN petition may be filed along with a Premium Processing Request resulting in a decision being rendered in 15 calendar days.

  2. USCIS Change of Status Processing

    Assuming that the foreign worker had previously entered the United States legally pursuant to a valid nonimmigrant visa; that the TN petition was filed and approved prior to the foreign worker’s expiration of stay in the United States; and that the foreign worker did not depart the United States during the approval process, s/he may begin employment upon issuance of the approval notice. If the foreign worker then leaves the United States after beginning employment s/he must present the approval to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at a port of entry when returning.

    Receipt Notice Issued: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Approval Notice Issued: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Total Time to Process: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    *The TN petition may be filed along with a Premium Processing Request resulting in a decision being rendered in 15 calendar days.

  3. USCIS Extension of Status Processing

    Assuming that the foreign worker had previously been issued a TN visa; that the new TN petition was filed prior to the expiration of the current TN visa, and that the position offered is the same or similar to the previous position, s/he may begin employment upon filing of the TN petition. If the foreign worker then leaves the United States after beginning employment s/he must present the approval to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at a port of entry when returning.

    Receipt Notice Issued: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Approval Notice Issued: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Total Time to Process: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    *The TN petition may be filed along with a Premium Processing Request resulting in a decision being rendered in 15 calendar days.

  4. Customs and Border Protection Processing (CBP)

    The Canadian citizen may instead apply for TN status directly with the CBP at a Class ‘A’ land port of entry or United States pre-clearance station at an airport in Canada. The Canadian citizen does not file a TN petition but must provide a letter in support along with required documentation. The CBP officer will admit the foreign worker to the United States in TN status for a 3 year period. The CBP officer also issues a TD visa to any spouse and minor (under 21 and unmarried) child(ren) of the foreign worker. Upon issuance of the TN and TD visas, the foreign worker, spouse and any child(ren) enter the United States.

    Visa Issued: Same day.

    Total Time to Process: One day.

B. Mexicans

If the foreign worker is a Mexican citizen the issuance of a TN visa requires processing by either United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and United States embassy or consulate. In general, the typical timeline for TN visa processing is as follows:

  1. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Processing

    The TN petition is filed with the USCIS. The USCIS issues a receipt notice to the petitioner (U.S. company) and attorney. Since each TN petition differs in terms of complexity, the decision time can vary. Once approved, the USCIS issues an approval notice to the petitioner and attorney.

    Receipt Notice Issued: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Approval Notice Issued: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Total Time to Process: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    *The TN petition may be filed along with a Premium Processing Request resulting in a decision being rendered in 15 calendar days.

  2. USCIS Change of Status Processing

    Assuming that the foreign worker had previously entered the United States legally pursuant to a valid nonimmigrant visa; that the TN petition was filed and approved prior to the foreign worker’s expiration of stay in the United States; and that the foreign worker did not depart the United States during the approval process, s/he may begin employment upon issuance of the approval notice. . If the foreign worker then leaves the United States after beginning employment s/he must follow the United States Embassy or Consulate visa procedure below before s/he can reenter the United States.

    Receipt Notice Issued: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Approval Notice Issued: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Total Time to Process: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    *The TN petition may be filed along with a Premium Processing Request resulting in a decision being rendered in 15 calendar days.

  3. USCIS Extension of Status Processing

    Assuming that the foreign worker had previously been issued a TN visa; that the new TN petition was filed prior to the expiration of the current TN visa, and that the position offered is the same or similar to the previous position, s/he may begin employment upon filing of the TN petition. . If the foreign worker then leaves the United States after beginning employment s/he must follow the United States Embassy or Consulate visa procedure below before s/he can reenter the United States.

    Receipt Notice Issued: 2 Weeks from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Approval Notice Issued: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    Total Time to Process: 3-6 Months from Date of Receipt of TN Petition

    *The TN petition may be filed along with a Premium Processing Request resulting in a decision being rendered in 15 calendar days.

  4. United States Embassy or Consulate Processing

    Assuming that the foreign worker is outside the United States at the time of approval of the TN petition by the USCIS, s/he will proceed to the United States embassy or consulate in Mexico with the original approval notice, complete copy of the TN petition that was filed with the USCIS, a valid passport and confirmation of completion of form DS-160 and payment of the visa fee TN (and TD) visa fees.
    At the interview, the consular officer will verify that all required documentation has been provided. Second, and more importantly, the consular officer may question the foreign worker in detail with respect to the specifics of the position and the U.S. company.

    If the consular officer is satisfied, the TN visa is approved and placed in the foreign worker’s passport. At that time, the United States embassy or consulate will also approve any TD visa application and place TD visa(s) in the foreign worker’s spouse and/or minor child(ren)’s passport(s).

    Interview Scheduled: Dependent on individual United States Embassy or Consulate schedule

    Visa Issued: 7-10 Days from Date of Interview

    Total Time to Process: Dependent on individual United States Embassy or Consulate schedule

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