TD or F-1 Status for 20 Year Old Student?

Question: I am Canadian citizen currently working in the U.S. under valid TN status. My twenty-year old son will be visiting me from Canada and wants to continue his educational studies here in the U.S. I'm in the process of renewing my TN soon. I'm not sure what status my son should obtain. Is TD status only good for my son if he is under the age of 21? If he becomes a full time student, what happens after he turns 21?

Answer: In this situation, it may be better to change the son’s status from TD to F-1. Although eligible for F-1 student status, the spouse and dependent child of a TN Professional Worker may attend school full-time under the TD derivative classification. See 8 C.F.R. § 248.3(e)(2); 9 FAM § 41.59 N12.1; NAFTA Handbook, INS Manuals 46 (November 1999). TD status is available only for the dependent, minor children of the TN Professional Worker. See 8 C.F.R. § 214.6 (j). However, for immigration purposes, the term “child” means an unmarried person under twenty-one years of age.

Because a TN Professional Worker’s son or daughter may remain in TD status only until his or her 21st birthday, F-1 status should be obtained for any schooling beyond the age of 21. To avoid complications, it may be prudent to start the school year in F-1 status to avoid having to make any complicated changes in immigration status during the school semester when he turns 21.