The Complete Guide to TD Visas for TN Visa Spouses

Updated on January 4, 2024

At a Glance

  • A TD visa is a non-immigrant visa for the spouse or children of a TN visa holder, allowing them to live and work in the United States.
  • Qualification involves demonstrating a valid relationship with the TN visa holder, with required documentation including passports, birth certificates, and marriage certificates.
  • The application process varies for Canadian and non-Canadian citizens, with considerations for changing or extending TD visa status and employment/education opportunities in the U.S.

Having the opportunity to live in the U.S. is great for most immigrants. Nonetheless, even though it comes with numerous opportunities, there are still some shortcomings worth mentioning. For one thing, the law specifications tend to be a tad confusing. You have to be knowledgeable regarding things such as a TD visa or a TN visa spouse, among many other things. That being said, in this guide, we will focus on presenting the TD visa and its primary characteristics and requirements.

What Is a TD Visa?

We’ll start with the basics, namely explaining what a TD visa is. But first, we have to mention the TN visa. In an attempt to facilitate ease of trade between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was created. Aside from the economic benefits linked to this agreement, it also aims at making traveling and working in the U.S. more accessible to Canadians and Mexicans.

With that in mind, a TN visa is a non-immigrant visa. Canadians and Mexicans can apply for such a visa if they meet the necessary criteria. To a given extent, the TN visa has some things in common with the H-1B visa, when it comes to requirements.

Moving on, a TD visa may be obtained by a TN visa’s worker spouse or children. In order to qualify, the children must not be married and they must be under the age of 21. Simply put, via the TD visa, as a spouse or child of a TN visa holder, you can apply to work and live in the U.S. under this visa status.

Qualifications for a TD Visa

The first thing you should do in order to qualify for the TN visa spouse is show the type of relationship between the applicant and the main TN visa holder. This is done by facilitating official documentation.

Similar to the TN visa worker, family members applying for the visa will be granted an I-94 record that aims at monitoring the timeframe they remain in the U.S.

In regard to the legal timeframe, usually, the same period that was prescribed for the TN visa holder will be prescribed for the TN visa spouse. Something you should note is that you don’t necessarily have to be a Canadian on Mexican citizen in order to qualify for the TD visa.

Typically, the law doesn’t require Canadian citizens to have a visa in order to enter the U.S. To that end, as a Canadian accompanying a TN visa holder, you don’t need a visa to be admitted in the U.S. Even so, what you will need to provide is evidence pointing out your Canadian citizenship – namely a valid passport. But we’ll get into more detail in the forthcoming paragraphs.

TD Visa Application Process

Essentially, there are some distinctions when it comes to the TD visa application process. In other words, the process isn’t the same for Canadian citizens as it is for Mexican citizens. This is why our recommendation would be to get your facts straight beforehand, to know what is expected of you.

Process for Canadian Citizens

First things first: as a Canadian citizen, you may get a TD visa straight at a U.S. port of entry. You can obtain the TD status when the primary applicant is during the process of getting the TN visa, or after he/she already obtained it.

Here’s a list of the documentation needed for securing a TD visa: valid, unexpired passports for every family member. In the case of Canadian citizens under the age of 16, a copy or the original of the birth certificate may be presented or, alternatively, a Canadian Citizenship Card. In addition, the birth certificates have to list the names of both parents – but this goes without saying.

In regard to getting a TN visa spouse, the marriage certificate has to be facilitated, accompanied by a certified translation – granted that it is not in English.

A copy of the TN visa’s worker should also accompany your application. This applies especially if you intend to have a separate TD status from the TN visa holder. As an additional suggestion, a recent letter from the employer of the TN visa holder might be included as well.

On the other hand, something to bear in mind is that if a TN visa applicant and a TD visa applicant are entering the U.S. together at the same time, this doesn’t mean you should supply the same evidence in duplicate. That being said, as a TN visa applicant supplies proof of employment and the other specifications of this type of visa, this demonstrates the TD visa applicant’s right and capability of receiving a TD status.

Process for Mexican and non-Canadian Citizens

Furthermore, how does the application process differ for non-Canadian and Mexican citizens? Read on to find out more.

In comparison with Canadian citizens that don’t have to worry about the visa stamp requirement, things are a bit different for Mexican and non-Canadian citizens. With that in mind, the first thing you should do is file for a TD visa stamp. You can do this at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Aside from gathering all the necessary documentation we already mentioned above, every family member is required to electronically file a DS-160 application.

As a rule of thumb, the applicants may present their documentation at a local Application Support Center. Once they do that, they can continue by attending an interview at a consulate or embassy.

It is highly advisable to minutely analyze the instructions facilitated by the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate website to ensure that you have everything that is required of you. This is advisable because the procedure might note some small distinctions. Still, the norm is that you have to supply the following: a DS-160 application filing, a valid passport, a receipt that indicates you’ve paid the TD visa application fee, documents proving your relationship with the TN visa holder, proof of the TN visa worker status.

If your application is approved, then you will get a TD visa stamp on your passport. In the case of Mexican citizens, the stamp is valid for the duration of one year. Afterward, you have to present yourself to the U.S. port of entry for admission. After attending the interview, you will be sent out the TD visa stamp via mail. Once you get that, you can travel to the U.S. with the TD visa stamp, without requiring the other documents mentioned beforehand.

On a different note, no matter if you are required to have a visa or not, in the position of a TD dependent, you don’t have to arrive in the U.S. from the same country as the holder of the TN visa. At the same time, as it is the case for non-Canadian and Mexican citizens, who are required to get a visa, an alien might apply for a TD visa regardless of his/her country of residence – it doesn’t have to be identical to the country of residence of the TN visa holder. Simply put, one can conduct the application process at any U.S. embassy, whether it is located in the NAFTA region or not.

Changing or Extending TD Visa Status

What are the specifications if you want to change or extend your TD visa status? If you are already in the U.S. and you are under a different non-immigrant category, one can consider changing to a TD visa. What you have to do in this respect is to file an I-539 application.

On the other hand, if you are in the U.S. and you are under the TD visa status and you want to prolong it, then you should file a different application – namely the I-539. This implies filing a petition by email – a process referred to as an extension of status. It is critical to file the extension application before the TN I-94 record expires – otherwise, the petition will be denied by the USCIS.

That being said, extending your status is a possibility, but it still remains connected to the principal TN worker’s extension of status. On a different note, you have the right to multiple entrances in the U.S., as long as the visa status remains valid.

TD Visa Filing Fees

Furthermore, in regard to the necessary filing fees for the TN visa spouse application, there are also some slight differences when it comes to Canadian and Mexican citizens. With that in mind, in the case of Canadian applicants for the TD visa, the fee is of $6. The fee for Mexican citizens and non-Canadian citizens is listed at $160.

There are no additional admittance taxes one has to pay aside from these fees.

Employment Authorization for TD Visa Holders

What are the specifications when it comes to the employment of a TD visa holder? According to the law, the child or spouse of a TN visa holder cannot accept employment in the U.S. unless he/she has the authorization to do so. On a different note, in the position of a TD visa holder, if you want to seek employment in the U.S., you have to change your status to an employment-authorized nonimmigrant classification – as pointed out here.

In other words, as a TD visa holder, you aren’t allowed to work in the U.S. To do that, you have to change your status into one that allows you to work in the United States.

TD Visa Holders and Education in the U.S.

If children holding a TD visa status want to attend school in the U.S., there are some elements worth pointing out. At the same time, a spouse may also have the opportunity of studying in the U.S., if this is what one wants to pursue. With that in mind, this opportunity is at your disposal, without requiring an F-1 student visa first.

Nevertheless, what is worth noting is that, due to the fact that they are considered to be non-residents, TD visa holders might be subject to higher tuition fees. Therefore, even if the TD visa status enables one to pursue an education in the U.S., there are several advantages to considering attending school under the F-1 visa student, for instance.

For one thing, as we already pointed out, a child is eligible to get the TD visa until a given age – namely 21 years. As for the F-1 visa application, there aren’t any age restrictions whatsoever, which may be perceived as a major benefit when it comes to attending college, for instance.

At the same time, under specific circumstances, F-1 students have the possibility of getting authorization of employment during their studies. Following graduation, holders of the F-1 visa have the possibility of participating in the open-market employment.

Another potential benefit worth noting is that the holder of an F-1 visa, in comparison to the TD visa, will no longer depend on the TN visa worker for keeping his/her status. If a TN visa holder loses its status, this imminently means that dependent TD visa holders will also lose their status. Concurrently, it’s worth pointing out that any changes in a TD visa holder’s status will ultimately affect his/her possibility of further pursuing education.

This is why it’s highly recommendable to consider your alternatives before making any decision, considering the plans you have for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a TD Visa?

A TD Visa is a non-immigrant visa granted to the dependent spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried) of TN Visa holders, who are citizens of Canada or Mexico under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Who is eligible for a TD Visa?

Eligibility for a TD Visa extends to the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of a TN Visa holder. The TN Visa holder must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.

What are the requirements for obtaining a TD Visa?

The primary requirements include:

  1. Proof of relationship to the TN Visa holder (marriage certificate for spouses, birth certificates for children).
  2. Valid passport.
  3. Proof of the TN Visa holder’s status.

How long is the TD Visa valid?

The TD Visa is typically valid for the same period as the principal TN Visa holder’s status. It can be extended as long as the TN status is maintained.

Can TD Visa holders work in the U.S.?

No, TD Visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States. They can reside in the U.S. but must obtain the appropriate work visa to be employed.

Are TD Visa holders allowed to study in the U.S.?

Yes, TD Visa holders are allowed to study in the U.S. They can enroll in full-time or part-time educational courses without needing to change their visa status.

How does a Canadian spouse or child obtain a TD Visa?

Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a TD Visa at a U.S. consulate. They can accompany or follow the TN Visa holder to the U.S. and present relevant documentation at the port of entry to be admitted in TD status.

How does a Mexican spouse or child obtain a TD Visa?

Mexican spouses and children must apply for the TD Visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. The process involves submitting the necessary documentation and attending a visa interview.

Can TD Visa holders travel in and out of the U.S.?

Yes, TD Visa holders can travel in and out of the U.S. as long as their visa and the principal TN Visa holder’s status are valid.

What happens if the principal TN Visa holder changes status or loses their job?

If the principal TN Visa holder changes status or loses their job, the TD Visa holders’ status is also affected. They may need to change their status, depart the U.S., or transition based on the new status of the principal visa holder.

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Conclusion

To conclude, we hope that our comprehensive guide on the topic of TD visa or TN spouse visa has answered at least some of your questions. Of course, this is merely an introduction to the topic, as further research is suggested considering that we’re discussing serious matters.

Essentially, your visa status in the U.S. will also impact your capability of getting financing, for instance. If you need this, you can always consider Stilt, as we focus primarily on providing financial aid to non-US residents, to make the process of getting loans less time-consuming and stressful. Feel free to have a look at our eligibility criteria to find out more.

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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.