Limit on Number of TN Visas Obtained Through USCIS?

Question: I am curious about a rumor that successive TN visa renewals through USCIS' Vermont Service Center may not be renewed because of dual intent. Is this correct? I have been in the U.S. under L-1 visas, and H-1B visas, and then under TN visas for the last 5 years.

Reply: Extended time in the U.S. under TN visa status may suggest to USCIS that a TN visa worker no longer meets the temporary entry requirements for the TN visa classification. However, there is no bright-line test as to whether USCIS will scrutinize a petition on this issue.

I have seen USCIS issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) that a TN visa worker still meets the temporary entry requirements for TN visa status in similar scenarios. In one case, a worker had held TN status for 9 years after holding L-1 status for 2 years. USCIS issued an RFE seeking proof of the temporary need for the TN visa worker, and also a statement from the worker regarding his plans for departure from the U.S.

This particular RFE was issued in 2009. At that time, many other immigration practitioners had received similar RFEs. Since then, I believe the rate of issuance of these types of RFEs have subsided. Nevertheless, TN visa workers should be prepared to respond to an RFE on how their protracted employment in the U.S. still meets the temporary entry requirement for the TN Visa classification (e.g. new project work, no offer of permanent employment in the U.S., ties to Canada, etc.).