Proving Non-Immigrant Intent under TN Visa Status

Question: I am a Canadian citizen and currently hold a TN visa and plan to marry my fiancé, a U.S. citizen, this summer. We are getting married in the US. I would like to be able to travel home to visit my family in Canada later in the summer and fall of this year. I am worried about the possibility of being denied re-entry to the US if the border officer discovers I am married to a US citizen and sees this as an indication of dual intent. However, I have no plans to file for a green card and my fiancé and I plan to move back to Canada when my TN is over. Should I be worried about travelling outside the US once I am married?

Answer: U.S. border inspectors have considered marriage to a U.S. citizen as a sign of immigrant intent on behalf of individuals filing for a TN or applying for re-admission to the U.S. under TN status. The key to re-entry to the U.S. is to counter this purported indication of immigrant intent with evidence that you do not intend to remain permanently in the U.S.

If you’re questioned about immigrant intent, explain to the officer that you do not intend to remain in the U.S. permanently, that you do not intend to file for a green card, and that you intend to return to Canada after your TN expires. To add further credibility, you may want to prepare a signed statement to present to the officer outlining your intentions to return to Canada.

You may also want to have at hand tangible evidence of your ties to Canada. For example, the following items can demonstrate nonimmigrant intent and help alleviate signs of immigrant intent in questionable cases:

  • Proof of a residence in Canada (note: not an essential element for a TN application);
  • Proof of close family members residing in Canada;
  • Documentation illustrating on-going activities in Canada such as membership in community clubs or religious organizations; or
  • Proof of financial arrangements  in Canada such as bank, retirement accounts.