The TN nonimmigrant classification allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to be admitted to the United States to engage in business activities in qualifying segments. While this visa is an excellent option for qualified workers from Canada and Mexico, it does not offer a direct path to a green card. 

In this article, you will discover feasible alternatives to transition from TN status to a green card.  

TN NAFTA Visa – Explaining the Concept  

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has specific criteria to determine one’s eligibility for TN status. To qualify for a TN visa, USCIS expressly requires the applicant: 

  • To be a citizen of Canada or Mexico 
  • To be a professional qualified under the regulations 
  • To show the position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional 
  • To have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (self-employment is not eligible), and 
  • To have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question 

The TN visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means it is a temporary option. Hence, applicants must demonstrate they only intend to stay in the country for professional purposes for a limited period. 

If a TN applicant demonstrates an “immigrant intent,” the chances for a USCIS refusal increase exponentially. The initial period of stay under TN status can go up to three years, depending on the time authorized by USCIS for each case. 

Workers under TN status interested in remaining in the United States beyond the initial period without departing the country must request the TN employer to file Form I-129 on their behalf.  

TN Visa to Green Card – A Realistic Overview 

Transitioning from a TN status to a green card requires a careful approach. To qualify for a TN visa, qualifying Canadian or Mexican citizens must show the USCIS they do not intend to stay in the United States long-term.  

The two most common options for transitioning from a TN visa to a green card are marriage-based visas and employment-based visas. The first option is available for applicants who marry a US citizen.  

Accordingly, the US citizen spouse sponsors the foreign spouse, filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS on his or her behalf. It is important to work with an expert attorney throughout the transition process to avoid jeopardizing one’s TN status while USCIS is processing the petition. 

Depending on the case, it is possible to file Form I -130 and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) concurrently. However, this alternative requires the guidance of an expert immigration attorney. 

On the other hand, TN workers applying with USCIS for an employment-based green card must identify the best option based on their qualifications. 

TN visa holders with advanced degrees or other qualifications may also apply for employment-based visas without necessarily departing the country. In certain cases, the best alternative is departing the United States and applying for a green card from Canada or Mexico. 

Do You Want to Transition from TN Visa to Green Card? – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance 

Waste no time with unnecessary risk. Contact Immigration Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find the best strategy to transition from a nonimmigrant to an immigrant status.