New Filing Option for Canadian TNs

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new filing option for Canadian TN applicants. As of October 1, 2012, it became possible for employers to file the petition seeking TN classification for eligible Canadians who are outside of the United States (Form I-129). As we explain, this option is an addition to the existing TN procedures.

Background: TN Processing at Border and Visa Exemption for Canadians

Historically, most Canadian TN cases involved applications made at the border. Canadian citizens are visa exempt for most nonimmigrant categories, including the TN category. Thus, such individuals do not need to make an application at a U.S. consulate for a visa prior to requesting entry to the United States in the TN classification. Additionally, unlike many other types of cases, there was no requirement or mechanism to obtain an approval from the USCIS prior to the request for admission. For Canadians, the TN process for an individual outside of the U.S., therefore, was limited to presenting the appropriate proof of eligibility for TN classification to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry. More information on this process is available on the CBP WebSite.

New Option: I-129 Filing

As of October 1, 2012, there is a new option regarding TN processing for Canadians. Employers have an option of filing the I-129 nonimmigrant petition with the USCIS for Canadian citizens who are outside of the United States. Individuals whose employers choose to follow this procedure, need to appear after approval at either designated pre-clearance / preflight inspection stations or designated U.S. ports of entry. It is necessary to present the approval notice of the TN classification, as well as all supporting documentation and proof of Canadian citizenship.

Other Procedures Unchanged

The I-129 continues to be available as an option for those who wish to extend or change to TN status in the United States. The changes discussed in this article are limited to Canadians. While Mexican citizens continue to remain eligible for TN status, they do not benefit from the changes announced by the USCIS. Employers and individuals interested in pursuing the TN category may contact the Murthy Law Firm for assistance.


Presumably, this change will help certain Canadian citizens whose cases may be a bit more complex. CBP will no longer be conducting the initial review and decision in such cases. Rather, the applicants will be able to present a USCIS approval notice at designated pre-clearance or preflight inspection stations. Hopefully, CBP will give appropriate deference to the USCIS decision. This will make the process a considerably smoother for such TN applicants seeking to enter the United States.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.