Much like the options for an extension of TN visa status, individuals have two options to change TN employers. They can file an I-129 petition by mail, or depart the U.S. and request a new TN in the same manner as they obtained their initial TN visa status.
- TN visa workers cannot begin employment with a new or additional employer until they receive authorization from U.S. immigration authorities. 8 CFR 214.6 (i).
- TN visa workers can change employers by mail using form I-129 in the same manner as if filing for an extension of status.
- Alternatively, they can apply to work for a new employer in the same fashion as they obtained their initial TN, e.g. at the border (if a Canadian citizen), or at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate (if a Mexican citizen). 8 CFR 214.6 (i) (2).
- USCBP has stated that Mexican citizens who possess a valid TN visa stamp may change employers at the border by departing the U.S. and presenting to USCBP a support letter for the new employer. AILA CBP Practice Pointer, AILA Doc. No. 16091302 (Sept. 13, 2016).
Caveat if Filing I-129 Petition
- Unlike the H-1B visa category, "portability" is not offered under the TN visa category. This means that individuals cannot work with the new employer under TN status until the I-129 petition is actually approved by USCIS.
- As processing of the I-129 petition varies, and can take approximately 2 months, individuals may find it more prudent to seek the change of employer at the U.S. border (Canadian) or Embassy/Consulate (Mexican).
- Alternatively, an I-129 petition can be filed via premium processing, which results in a response within 15 days, but USCIS charges an additional fee of $1,225 for this service.
Transfers to Another Location / Entity
- A TN visa worker who is transferred to another location by the same U.S. employer to perform the same services need not file a new application for TN status. 8 CFR 214.6 (i) (3).
- For example, if the TN worker is transferred to a branch or other office of the employer, a new application for TN status does not have to be filed.
- If the TN worker is transferred to a separately incorporated subsidiary or affiliate, a new TN application should be filed.
Revised Sept. 20, 2016.