How to Change Employers on a TN Visa

Updated on March 27, 2024

As a Canadian or Mexican professional working in the United States under a TN visa, you may find yourself in a situation where you want to change employers. Whether you’ve received a better job offer or your current employment isn’t meeting your expectations, it’s essential to understand the process of changing employers while maintaining your TN visa status. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps involved in a TN visa change of employer and provide helpful tips to ensure a smooth transition.

30 Second Recap:

Changing employers while on a TN visa involves securing a new job offer in a NAFTA profession, obtaining a new TN visa petition from the new employer, applying for a new TN visa (at a port of entry for Canadians or at a U.S. embassy/consulate for Mexicans), and beginning work for the new employer upon approval. Required documents include a new job offer letter, proof of qualifications, proof of citizenship, and a new TN visa petition or support letter.

Steps for Changing Employers on a TN Visa

To change employers while on a TN visa, follow these steps:

  1. Secure a new job offer: Begin by obtaining a new job offer from a US employer in a USMCA (formerly NAFTA) profession that qualifies for the TN visa.
  2. Obtain a new TN visa petition: Your new employer must file a new TN visa petition (Form I-129) with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or provide you with a new TN visa support letter.
  3. Apply for a new TN visa: Depending on your citizenship, you’ll need to either:
    • For Canadians: Apply for a new TN visa at a US port of entry or preclearance location with your new job offer letter and supporting documents.
    • For Mexicans: Schedule a visa appointment at a US embassy or consulate in Mexico and attend the interview with your new job offer letter and supporting documents.
  4. Begin working for your new employer: Once your new TN visa is approved, you can start working for your new employer.

Required Documents for a TN Visa Change of Employer

  1. New job offer letter: Obtain a detailed job offer letter from your new employer that outlines the position, duties, salary, and duration of employment.
  2. Proof of qualifications: Gather documents that demonstrate you meet the educational and/or experience requirements for your profession, such as diplomas, transcripts, or professional licenses.
  3. Proof of citizenship: Provide a valid passport or other proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship.
  4. New TN visa petition or support letter: Your new employer must provide either a new I-129 petition receipt notice (if filing with USCIS) or a TN visa support letter (if applying at a port of entry).

Changing Employers on a TN Visa for Mexican Nationals

As a Mexican national with a recently renewed TN visa, losing your job shortly after receiving your visa can be a challenging situation. Here’s what you need to know about changing employers on a TN visa:

Transferability of TN Visas

While TN visas are generally not transferable, there are some exceptions for Mexican nationals. As one user points out, “TNs are not transferable,” but the original poster clarifies, “They are, at least for Mexicans.”

Changing Employers Within the US

For Mexican nationals, it is possible to change employers while already in the United States. As one user shares their experience, “En dos ocasiones lo eh realizado dentro de US, solo tienen que aplicar los abogados de tu nueva empresa y pagar el premium processing que te da respuesta en 15 dias. Con eso ya tendrías aprobación con tu nuevo empleador y puedes viajar con tu actual visa hasta su vencimiento.” (In two occasions, I have done it within the US. Your new employer’s lawyers just have to apply and pay for premium processing, which gives you a response in 15 days. With that, you would have approval with your new employer, and you can travel with your current visa until it expires.)

Changing Employers at a Port of Entry

Another option for Mexican nationals is to change employers at a port of entry. As one user explains, “La segunda opción sería presentarte en algún puerto de entrada, como ya te lo mencionaron este metodo es un poco menos confiable ya que algunos oficiales no saben el proceso, pero podrías intentar, en lo personal nunca lo eh intentado pero eh leido de casos exitosos.” (The second option would be to present yourself at a port of entry. As already mentioned, this method is a bit less reliable since some officers don’t know the process, but you could try. Personally, I have never tried it, but I have read about successful cases.)

However, it’s important to note that this method can be unreliable, as CBP officers at ports of entry may not always be familiar with the process.

Risks of Entering the US Without a Valid Job

It’s crucial to understand the risks of entering the United States without a valid job lined up. As one user warns, “If you enter the US knowingly not having the job that you were approved for, then that is misrepresentation and will result in a lifetime ban.”

Importance of Having a Valid I-94

To change employers at a port of entry, it’s essential to have a valid I-94. As one user shares their friend’s experience, “I have a friend who was in a similar situation as you (he had a 4 year visa, lost his job, got a job offer) that travel to Mexico and then tried to change employers with CBP at the land border and the officer revoqued the visa. The officer said that they can only do it when the previous I94 is still active. If you are not in the US, you have no active I94.”

When considering changing employers on a TN visa as a Mexican national, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of each option. If possible, changing employers while already in the United States with the help of your new employer’s lawyers and premium processing may be the most reliable path. However, if you are already outside the US, you may need to apply for a new visa altogether. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate your specific situation and make an informed decision.

Final Thoughts

Changing employers while on a TN visa is possible with proper planning and attention to detail. By understanding the steps involved, gathering the required documents, and following the tips outlined in this post, you can navigate the transition process with confidence and minimize disruptions to your career. Remember to communicate with both your current and new employers, maintain valid status, and seek professional guidance if needed. With the right approach, you can successfully change employers and continue to grow your career in the United States on a TN visa.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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