Case Status Update, Update: Change of Status from TN to B2 to TN
Change of Status to TN from B2 Approved: Yesterday, I posted the below Case Status Update for our client, (hereinafter, "X"), who changed status from a TN to a B2 Visitor. I also mentioned that since filing for the change of status at the end of last year, X received a job offer and her employer filed to change her status back to a TN Visa and that the petition was still pending.
I was very happy to find out this morning that X's change of status back to a TN was approved! Thanks to Premium Processing, X was able to get approval for her TN Visa in just over 2 weeks and she did not have to leave the country. X can immediately begin working for her new employer.
Congratulations X and good luck at your new job!
Change of Status Approved: Earlier this week, we received approval for an application to change status. Our client, (hereinafter , "X"), is native of Pakistan and citizen of Canada. X was in the U.S. on a TN Visa. What is a TN Visa? See below for a brief explanation.
X had been in the U.S. as a TN Visa holder for less than a year when her employer, suddenly and without any prior notice, informed her that they were having financial difficulties and that they would have to let her go, effective immediately. Unfortunately, as is the case with most temporary work visas, if you lose your job you are required to immediately leave the U.S. or you will be out of status and in violation of U.S. immigration law.
This can be an extremely harsh reality for someone who is blind sighted like X was. She needed to wrap up her affairs, like finding someone to take over her apartment lease, before she could move back home. X also had previously committed to attend various events and activities, including her dance troupe's show that for months her and her fellow troupe members had been diligently practicing for.
With all of this in mind, X immediately contacted an experienced immigration attorney at The Shapiro Law Firm to find out what her options were to remain in the U.S. until she can wrap up all of her affairs to go back home. We advised X that based on her particular circumstances, she had 2 options: (1) Leave the U.S. and re-enter with a Visa Waiver, or; (2) Immediately file an application to change status to a B2 Visitor Visa.
Although Canadians generally do not have much difficulty entering the U.S. on a visa waiver, X faced difficulty entering the country in the past when U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) doubted her nonimmigrant intent. She found that every time she attempted to re-enter the U.S., even if she just left for vacation to a third country, CBP was increasingly giving her a harder time. We were thus concerned about X being denied re-entry into the U.S., so we advised her to file for a change of status instead.
It took 4 ½ months for X's change of status to be approved and she has been given until April 15 to leave the country.
What is next for X?
While X was wrapping up her affairs the last few months, a new employer offered her a TN Visa eligible position who filed to change X's status back to a TN Visa. Assuming the petition is approved, X will be able to remain in the U.S. to work for her new employer with her new TN Visa.
What is a TN Visa?
A TN Visa is an employment-based temporary visa for professionals that is available to citizens of Canada and Mexico through the NAFTA Trade Agreement. TN Visas provide certain advantages over other types of temporary employment-based visas. For example, a TN Visa holder is authorized to work AND go to school in the United States without the need for any additional permission from USCIS.
Most notably, Canadians* who are outside the U.S. and who wish to enter the U.S. as a TN Visa holder are not required to have an approved nonimmigrant worker petition. Rather, a Canadian may be admitted at the border by presenting a valid Canadian Passport along with a job offer letter for a qualifying TN Visa occupation to CBP.
TN Visas are generally issued for 2 or 3 year periods and can be extended and renewed indefinitely. When a TN Visa holder changes jobs or wants to extend his or her stay, rather than having to file a petition to change status, he or she can simply return to Canada and then re-enter at the border by presenting a new job offer letter. There is no minimum amount of time that you must remain outside the U.S. before you can return.
*The process for obtaining a TN Visa is not the same for Mexicans and Canadians. Mexicans are always required to file a petition for a nonimmigrant worker. For more information, contact us today.
Sounds easy enough, is there a catch?
As with any temporary visa, an individual seeking to enter the U.S. as a TN Visa holder must have nonimmigrant intent. This means that if you try to enter the U.S. with a TN Visa and CBP does not believe that you will return to your country of citizenship or nationality when your period of authorized stay expires, then you will not be admitted into the country.
So even though there are no limits on TN Visa renewals and extensions, CBP tends to increasingly doubt your intent to temporarily remain in the U.S. each time you attempt to re-enter the U.S. with a TN Visa whether it is for the same employer or a new employer. If you are denied entry you can try again the next day or try a different Port of Entry. The other option is to file a petition for a nonimmigrant worker with USCIS and wait for an approval.
**If you need help obtaining humanitarian parole for yourself or someone who is currently outside the United States, contact an experienced immigration attorney at The Shapiro Law Firm today to get started!**
(*please note that all identification information has been removed in order to protect our clients' privacy and in order to fully comply with attorney advertising rules and regulations*)