TN Visa: Getting Your Visa at a US Consulate in Mexico
The process used to obtain your TN visa and your admission into the United States in TN status is different depending upon whether you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico. This article focuses on the process for Mexican citizens, since it is a little more complicated. If you have questions about the TN visa and would like to consult with an attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. We have over 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.
Application process for citizens of Mexico
While citizens of Canada may apply for TN status while entering the US, citizens of Mexico must first apply for a TN visa at a US consulate outside the United States. After receiving the TN visa, a citizen of Mexico may then apply for admission into the US in TN status at a US class A port of entry, a US airport handling international traffic, or at a US pre-clearance/pre-flight station.
The difference between your TN visa and your TN status
As a citizen of Mexico, the TN visa you obtain from a US consulate will only be valid for a maximum of one year, due to the reciprocity schedule limitation required by the US Department of State. However, there is a difference between your TN visa and your TN status. Your visa determines the period of time that you are allowed to make your entry into the US. Your status determines the period of time that you are allowed to be inside the United States as a TN NAFTA professional. Your visa lets you enter the US, and your status lets you stay in the US.
Determining the length of your TN status
The length of your TN status is not determined by the reciprocity schedule, but by other factors. The status you receive should be for the full period of time of your intended employment, up to a three-year maximum. This is determined by a signed letter or similar document from your employer indicating how long your period of intended employment will be. For example, if your employment will be for two years, your TN status should be for two years. If your employment will be for three, your TN status should be for three. And if your employment will last for more than three years, your TN status should be limited to three years. Note that extensions beyond the initial period of status are available.
Check your passport validity date
The length of your TN status is also determined by your passport validity date. Your TN status cannot be longer than the validity of your passport. For example, even if your period of intended employment will be for three years, if your passport will only be valid for the next two years, then your TN status should only be valid for two years. If you would like further information about the TN visa or any other immigration matter, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.