Sponsoring TN Status at Texas A&M University San Antonio

 

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) will facilitate in the TN process. Hiring departments must consult with the OIA before a prospective employee seeks entry in TN status to determine if this status is appropriate. After the department has forwarded the supporting documents for TN sponsorship the OIA will review all documents, and if it is determined TN status is appropriate, the OIA will seek the Provost's approval and proceed with the requested visa sponsorship process. Administrative approval from our Provost is a mandated step in the sponsorship of all international faculty being considered for visa sponsorship.

Upon approval, the OIA will authorize the employing department to proceed with the request process.

What is TN Status?

The TN classification is available to Canadian and Mexican citizens who seek to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis to work in a professional-level job under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). TN status was created by NAFTA for the purpose of easing the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens who come to the U.S. to work temporarily. The procedures for Canadian and Mexican citizens are similar. However, Mexican citizens must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate prior to entering the U.S. in TN status.

Eligibility

If the department wants to consider sponsoring an international faculty for TN status, the faculty member must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico and must engage in activities at a professional level. “Professional level” refers to occupations that require the individual to have at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials in a profession set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA.

Moreover, the international faculty member can only enter the U.S. on a temporary basis. Temporary entry, as defined in NAFTA, means entry without the intent to establish permanent residence. The individual must demonstrate to the U.S. consular officer or inspecting immigration officer that the proposed stay is temporary. A temporary period has a reasonable, finite end that does not equate to permanent residence. For this reason, TN status is not appropriate for employees holding a tenure-track appointment.

Finally, the international faculty member can only work for the petitioner while only performing the duties described in the offer letter. 

Required Documents

A completed TN packet must be forwarded to the OIA in order to assist the sponsoring department in the TN process. In order for a TN packet to be considered as complete the following documents will be needed:

  1. A Memorandum of Support - This memorandum must be written by the department Chair or Dean, requesting authorization to sponsor TN status.
  2. A Job Verification Letter (Offer Letter) - This letter must be for a professional position, must describe the work to be done, have the beginning and ending dates of the sponsorship/employment, must discuss payment arrangements, and must have a review of the applicant’s qualifications which demonstrate professional status.
  3. Deemed Export Control Attestation Form - Evidence of the sponsoring Chair having completed Export Controls Training via Train Traq
  4. Beneficiary’s latest Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Duration

TN status may be requested for up to three years, and may be renewed in three-year increments. Although the regulations do not limit the number of years that the TN may be used, TN is a nonimmigrant status. The international faculty member must establish to the satisfaction of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the employment opportunity is both temporary and short-term. Additionally, TN status holders must not have the intent to establish permanent residence in the U.S. 

Dependents

Dependents of TN status holders are granted TD status. TD status holders are not allowed to accept employment or receive payment of any kind. 

Port-of-Entry

Canadian Applicants: At the port-of-entry (by land or by air), Canadian TN applicants must present the documents listed below to the U.S. immigration inspector for adjudication. 

Mexican Applicants: Mexican applicants must first apply for a TN visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad providing the documents listed below as a part of the visa application. Presentation of these documents is not a guarantee of a TN visa (for Mexicans only), or TN status and entry to the U.S. will be granted.  The U.S. consular official or immigration officer will evaluate each case on its own merits, and according to the federal rules governing TN status.

At the U.S. port-of-entry, the TN status will be granted. The TN status will be marked on the applicant's Form I-94 and in the passport.  It may be valid for a period of up to three years from the date of entry, and can be extended for up to three years at a time (there must be an approved appointment and guaranteed funding for the requested TN period).

Changes to TN Status and Extensions of Stay in TN Status

Changes from one nonimmigrant status to TN status as well as extensions of TN status may be accomplished either by filing a petition with USCIS or by exiting and reentering the U.S.  Please note that citizens of Mexico must have or obtain a valid TN visa before applying for entry to the U.S. Please inform the OIA staff if a change of status to TN will be required and additional guidance will be provided.

Check-In Procedures at A&M-SA

Upon the TN status holder’s entry to the U.S., the international faculty member must contact the OIA and present original copies of the TN status holder’s I-94 card and any other immigration documents.