TN Visa Renewal Explained

Updated on March 27, 2024

If you’re a Canadian or Mexican professional currently working in the United States under a TN visa, you may be wondering about the process of renewing your visa and extending your stay. The good news is that TN visas can be renewed indefinitely, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements and maintain your temporary intent. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the TN visa renewal process and provide helpful tips to ensure a smooth extension of your work authorization.

30 Second Recap:

TN visas can be renewed indefinitely as long as the holder continues to meet the eligibility requirements and maintains temporary intent. The renewal process should begin 45-90 days before the current visa expires and involves submitting a renewed job offer letter and supporting documents. Canadians can renew at a port of entry or by mail, while Mexicans must schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

When to Begin the Renewal Process

It’s essential to start the TN visa renewal process well before your current visa expires. While there is no strict timeline, it’s generally recommended to begin the process at least 45-90 days prior to your expiration date. This allows ample time to gather necessary documents, consult with your employer, and account for any potential delays in processing.

Renewal Requirements

To renew your TN visa, you must:

  1. Continue to work in a USMCA (formerly NAFTA) profession that qualifies for the TN visa.
  2. Have a valid job offer or employment contract from a US employer.
  3. Maintain your temporary intent to return to your home country after your employment ends.
  4. Meet the educational and/or experience requirements for your profession.

Renewal Process for Canadians

Canadian citizens have two options for renewing their TN visa:

  1. At a US port of entry or pre-clearance location: Present your renewed job offer letter, supporting documents, and proof of Canadian citizenship. If approved, you’ll receive a new I-94 record indicating your extended TN status.
  2. By mail: Your employer can file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) with USCIS on your behalf. If approved, you’ll receive an approval notice and can then travel to a US port of entry to obtain your new I-94 record.

Renewal Process for Mexicans

Mexican citizens must follow these steps to renew their TN visa:

  1. Schedule a visa appointment at a US embassy or consulate in Mexico.
  2. Attend the appointment with your renewed job offer letter, supporting documents, and proof of Mexican citizenship.
  3. If approved, pay the visa fee and receive your new TN visa.

Renewing Your Canadian TN Visa with a New Employer

When renewing your TN visa with a new employer, you have two main options: applying by mail through USCIS or applying at a port of entry (POE). Here’s what you need to know:

Applying by Mail with USCIS

While your employer may suggest applying by mail through USCIS, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks. As one user shares their experience, “They say there is a chance for an RFE and then I’ll need to wait for at least 6 months to complete the process, and I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

However, if your employer is willing to pay for premium processing, applying by mail can be a viable option. As another user explains, “I just renewed via the I-129 (by mail using USCIS), premium processing, got the renewal in like 2 weeks without issue. But even if there’s an RFE, they must respond within 15 days after the evidence is sent when using premium processing.”

Applying at a Port of Entry

If you prefer to avoid the potential delays associated with applying by mail, applying at a port of entry may be a better choice. However, with current travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, it’s important to consider the logistics of crossing the border.

Likelihood of Receiving an RFE

Regardless of whether you apply by mail or at a port of entry, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE). As one user shares, “I am in the process of getting the TN with a new employer while being in the US. I just got a RFE, and other 3 friends that have gone through the same process in the last months also got a RFE… Seems that it is highly likely that you will get a RFE if you apply soon. I guess USCIS is extremely busy right now.”

When deciding between applying by mail or at a port of entry, consider the potential delays, quarantine requirements, and the likelihood of receiving an RFE. If your employer is willing to pay for premium processing, applying by mail may be a viable option. However, if you prefer a faster process and are willing to navigate the current travel restrictions, applying at a port of entry may be the better choice.

Final Thoughts

Renewing your TN visa is an essential step in extending your stay and continuing your career in the United States. By understanding the requirements, timelines, and processes involved, you can approach the renewal with confidence and minimize disruptions to your work and life in the US. Remember to start early, communicate with your employer, and seek professional guidance if needed. With proper planning and preparation, you can successfully renew your TN visa and continue to make valuable contributions to your US workplace.

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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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