The TN NAFTA visa is a nonimmigrant classification, which means workers living in the United States under TN status do not have a direct path to a green card or US citizenship. A common way for TN workers to obtain a green card is through marriage.
In this article, you will understand the steps to transition from TN status to a marriage-based green card.
TN NAFTA Visa vs. Marriage-based Visa – Understanding the Concept
The first difference between TN visas and marriage-based visas is the classification. TN visas are temporary worker visas available for Canadian and Mexican citizens who meet specific requirements established by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a visa.
Conversely, marriage-based visas are immigrant visas applied to foreign nationals who are married to US citizens. US immigration law allows US citizens to apply for a green card on behalf of a foreign-born spouse to promote the family unit.
Please note that the two visa options require US sponsorship. TN NAFTA workers need a US job offer, which can be a full-time or part-time job from a US employer, while a foreign spouse depends on a US citizen spouse to file with USCIS on their behalf.
When applying for a marriage-based visa, USCIS requires that the US sponsor must maintain its principal residence in the United States and intend to continue living in the country for the foreseeable future.
TN Visa to Green Card Through Marriage – In Detail
Transitioning from a TN visa to a green card through marriage requires a careful approach, especially as TN workers cannot violate USCIS’s “nonimmigrant intent” requirement. Spouses seeking this alternative must consult with a well-versed immigration attorney.
If a TN visa holder marries a US citizen, it is possible to go directly to a green card. In such cases, the US petitioner must file Form I-130 (Petition for Foreign Relative) and Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status).
As long as the applicant meets certain conditions, it is possible to file both forms concurrently. Applicants have two options to file with USCIS – filing online or filing by paper. As expected, opting to file online is generally the most convenient option.
If you prefer to file online, the first step is to visit the USCIS website and create an online account. With a proper account, the applicant can file the required forms online, submit the supporting documents, and pay the applicable fees electronically.
One of the advantages of online applications includes the possibility to seamlessly check status updates, communicate directly with USCIS, and respond to requests for additional evidence in the most convenient way.
After submitting Form I-130 and the supporting documentation to USCIS, the agency will assess the case and determine the eligibility for a marriage visa. After receiving the petition, USCIS will issue a receipt notice confirming the forms were properly received for processing.
If applicable, the spouses will receive a notice to go through biometric service for background checking purposes. The couple may also have to attend an interview conducted by an immigration officer.
Do You Want to Transition from TN Status to a Marriage-based Green Card? – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance
Navigating the complex USCIS requirements to guarantee a safe transition between different visas can be challenging. Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find the best strategy for your case.