Getting Your TD Visa

Getting Your TD Visa

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Getting Your TD Visa

A TD visa is a document that allows the spouse and children of a Canadian or Mexican professional to join the TN employee in the United States.  The TN “status” is a nonimmigrant professional worker states created by the North American Free Trade Agreement that allows some normal foreign worker restrictions to be lifted for Canadian and Mexican citizens.  The amount of these citizens that may receive this status is unlimited, compared to the finite number of H1-B employment visas.

There may be a TN visa, but it is not required for all professional workers.   These workers are known as NAFTA professionals and have occupations that are preapproved by the US government.  This does not include unskilled workers and general labor.  Permanent residents of both countries are not eligible for NAFTA professional status.  TN status is initially three years and can be renewed indefinitely every three years so long as the individual remains a non-immigrant.  Similarly, the spouse and children for the TN holder may continuously renew their TD status.  An attorney can help with the renewal process if so needed.


What are requirements for a TN visa?

There are different requirements for Canadian and Mexican citizens. 

Canadian citizens do not explicitly require a TN visa, but may be issued one at their request.  Otherwise, there is the assumption of TN status.  Instances where the Canadian worker intends to have his or her non-Canadian spouse and children join the worker in the US will need a TN visa so the rest of the family can apply for a TD visa.  Canadian citizens are assessed a fee of $50 to be classified as a TN professional by the Department of Homeland Security.  The must, of course, clear all provisions set on individuals crossing the US border, as determined by the US Customs and Border Protection.

Mexican citizens on the other hand must have a visa to enter the US, although they will not need a petition as is typical for citizens of other non-NAFTA countries.


Can one change employers while enjoying TN status?

TN status/visa holders may change employers by filing form I-129, presenting evidence of the new employer and paying a fee of $120.  Canadian citizens may circumvent this fee by returning to the port-of-entry and re-registering as a TN and paying the requisite $50.


How does one apply for a TN Visa?

TN visa seekers must complete an interview with a consular officer that will determine the applicant’s eligibility for NAFTA Professional Worker status.

They must then complete Form DS-160 online to initiate the process.  After that, the applicant must ensure their passport will be valid at least six months beyond the period of stay.  When applying for TN status, the applicant will also need to provide a 2x2 photograph and a letter of employment from the applicant’s American employer.

The letter must include:

-        The position filled

-        length of stay

-        educational qualifications

-        arrangements for pay

Once the TN status/visa arrangements have been satisfied, the TD procedure may begin.  The TN holder and the employer must ensure that the professional is properly license to practice in the United States, in accordance with state and federal authorities.


What are the restrictions on a TD visa?

Spouses and dependants that hold TD visas may not seek employment in the United States but may attend school as needed.  The $50 fees to classify Canadian TNs are not assessed when classifying TD spouses and dependants. 


How does one apply for a TD Visa?

Spouses and children under 21 are covered by the TD visa and will be able to join the TN visa holder in the United States.  Spouses and children that are Canadian citizens will not require a visa, though non-citizens and Mexican citizens will require this visa.  As noted earlier, although Canadian citizens do not require TN/TD status, they may request and receive the visa as needed.

TD-1 visas are issued to the family of Canadian citizen workers and TD-2 visas are issued to the family of Mexican citizen workers.

Applicants seeking a TD visa must apply at a local US embassy or consulate and provide proof of their spouse’s TN status.

What Professions are eligible for TN status?

There are a number of professions that are eligible for TN status, all requiring an advanced degree.  Self employed individuals are not eligible for TN status.  There is also health, security and criminal based limitations that may deny an applicant TN status.  Only those that will be employed by an American company can receive TN status which translates to TD status for the spouse and children as needed.


Extending Stay

Provided the non-immigrant status holder has not committed any crimes, has not violated the terms of their stay, and has a passport that will last beyond the extended stay, they may apply to remain in the US.  The USCIS suggests that the status holder initiate the extension process 45 days in advance.


Dual intent

Unlike other work visas, the TN and TD visas are not subject to dual intent and the holders may not pursue US citizenship when holding these visas.  In fact, TN/TD seekers can be denied if the consular officer determines that the applicant intends to seek residence in the US. 

Those that intend to change their non-immigrant status should notify the USCIS immediately, and assume their status remains unchanged until noted otherwise.  The USCIS will be able to guide you through the appropriate channels to become a permanent residence, although this is by no means guaranteed.  Those seeking US permanent residence must switch to an H-1B visa then apply for a green card.  Otherwise, especially for Canadians, the TN status can be revoked at the border.

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