In the realm of U.S. immigration, the Treaty National (TN) status represents an important opportunity for Canadian and Mexican nationals under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in 2020. However, when it comes to TN status holders working for multiple employers, many complications can arise. To provide much-needed clarification on this issue, the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) CBP Liaison Committee conducted a call with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on September 13, 2016.
The discussions from that call revealed a few significant insights about Canadian and Mexican TN applicants seeking entry into the U.S. for multiple employers. Let’s unravel these critical points and understand what they mean for prospective TN applicants.
Canadian TN Applicants
Canadian TN applicants applying at a Port of Entry (POE) are required to carry a TN support letter from each of the employers they intend to work for in the U.S.
For applications processed at land POEs, the CBP will issue an I-94 form featuring the names of the different employers. If there’s insufficient space on one I-94 form, additional forms will be issued, each carrying the same I-94 number. The CBP will also update the electronic I-94 system to reflect all employers, allowing the TN holder to work for any employer listed, regardless of subsequent trips where only a single I-94 is issued.
At airports, all employers’ names will be included in the electronic I-94 system. As always, all nonimmigrants should download there electronic I-94 upon entering the US. Canadian TN holders who were initially authorized to work for only one employer may return to POE to add concurrent employers.
Mexican TN Applicants
For Mexican TN applicants with multiple employers, the scenario changes slightly. This information must be presented to the consulate during visa application, with the Department of State (DOS) endorsing the visa to reflect the names of approved employers. Mexican TN holders already possessing a valid visa endorsed for a single employer can present additional TN application letters at the POE to add new, concurrent employers.
The CBP also confirmed that Mexican citizens can change employers by departing the U.S. and seeking reentry at a POE using the existing TN visa endorsed for the original employer and a TN application letter from the new employer.
Mexican citizens can also add concurrent employers or change employers by presenting an I-129 approval notice and visa at a POE without requiring a new visa from the consulate, given that an I-129 petition is approved while they are in the U.S. The petitioner(s) on the I-129 petition(s) doesn’t need to match the one(s) endorsed on the visa.
In conclusion, the CBP’s 2016 guidance offers valuable insights for Canadian and Mexican nationals seeking employment in the U.S. under TN status. As the nuances of immigration laws can be complex, it’s always advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure you’re fully aware of your rights and responsibilities.
Stay tuned to our blog for more updates, insights, and expert advice on U.S. immigration issues. If you have any questions about the topic we discussed or if you need legal assistance with an immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.