How to Get a Green Card with a 3 Year TN Visa
The TN visa is a no dual intent visa which means that you are entering the United States to work temporarily and do not intend to settle down permanently in the United States. But there is no restriction on you applying for a green card once you enter the United States on a TN visa. The only problem you will encounter is that your TN visa will not be renewed once it expires if you apply for a green card. You could not pursue your green card without risking your TN status – if you had a TN visa and applied for a green card by filing an I-140 petition, it would have been difficult for you to obtain subsequent extensions. This is a major disadvantage for Canadians with TN visas wanting to apply for a green card.
New Opportunity for Green Card with the 3 Year TN Visa
Initially the period of admission and subsequent extensions of stay for TN visa was one year. You had very limited time during which you could pursue your green card. You had to travel outside of the United States and reenter, or seek an extension of status in the United States, once every year. At the time of reentry, if you had applied for a green card, you were likely to be refused entry. However effective October 16, 2008 the initial period of admission and subsequent extensions of stay has been extended to three years.
Now with the new rules, you can obtain your green card through careful planning.
You can file an I-140 petition immediately on receiving a three year TN status. It is highly likely that the immigration number will become available during the validity of the TN status – three years. The new rule is great opportunity for TN visa holders to apply for a green card while on TN status.
If you are not comfortable using this method, you can apply for a green card by changing your visa status to H1B.
The advantage you get by applying for your green card directly on your TN visa rather than changing your status to H1B is that there is an annual cap on the number of H1B visas issued every year and there is a huge demand for this visa. The TN visa on the other hand is not cap restricted. The three year time period is generally sufficient for your green card to come through.
To apply for a green card on a TN visa, your employer must file the I-140 petition on your behalf. The petition must be accompanied by approved labor certificate, proof of your employer’s finances, your experience letters and filing fee. Generally it takes 3-6 months for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to process your petition. If your petition is approved, you will receive an approval notice.
How and where you file the application for your Green Card is very important otherwise you may be in violation of your TN Visa.
Next Step to Obtain Your Green Card
Speak with a qualified immigration lawyer whom you know
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.