Eligibility for TN Visa Status with Valid Waiver

Question: I am a Canadian with sponsorship for a TN 1 visa. I have a criminal past but have had access to the US with the waiver process. I currently hold a valid waiver for travel in the US. Would I have a chance at gaining a TN visa with my criminal history, from over 20 years ago?

Answer: Whether your current waiver will allow you to work in the U.S. under TN visa status may depend upon the terms and conditions of the waiver. Each waiver of inadmissibility for nonimmigrants authorized under INA § 212(d)(3) should specify:

(i) the reasons for inadmissibility;

(ii) the intended date of arrival and departure, unless the authorization is valid for multiple entries;

(iii) if applicable, the length of each stay authorized in the United States;

(iv) the purpose of each stay;

(v) the number of entries for which the authorization is valid;

(vi) the justification for the waiver; and

(vii) that the waiver is subject to revocation at any time. 8 C.F.R. § 212.4 (c).

All admissions under the waiver are subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the authorization. You will need to analyze the conditions of the waiver to determine whether they may permit entry and employment in the U.S. under TN status. For example, if the waiver authorizes your admission to the U.S. for temporary employment, then it may be valid for purposes of obtaining TN visa status. Alternatively, if the waiver is authorized only for temporary visits to the U.S. for non-working purposes, then further investigation may be warranted to determine whether you may have to file for another waiver before you can obtain work authorization under TN status.