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TN Visa Renewal, TN Extensions, TN Visa by Mail

TN Visa Renewal Myth

If you currently have a TN Visa doesn't mean when you attempt your TN Visa renewal, USCIS will approve your application. Many applicants believe it is easier to renew their TN Visa by Mail, but this isn't the case.

Remember, the TN Visa approval process is subjective and it is the Immigration Officer who has the final decision.

These are a few of the things you should be aware of when renewing your TN Visa:

  • Do you know if your TN Visa Application is valid?
  • Is your TN Visa Employer Letter written in a professional manner?
  • Is it written to help the Immigration Officer quickly determine if you qualify for the TN Visa?
  • Are you prepared for the border interview? The Immigration Officer may determine you don't qualify based on your application or the informal interview.
  • The TN Visa approval is subjective. The Immigration Officer will review each of your subsequent TN Visa Applications more closely. Make sure you are prepared.
  • The Immigration Officer is assessing if your intention is for a temporary stay. Do you know how you will prove this?

How Many Times Can a TN Visa be Renewed?

The TN Visa has unlimited renewals but each time you renew you must show you continue to meet the requirements. Many people don't realize submitting the same application as your previous application doesn't mean USCIS will approve you.

In essence, USCIS treats a renewal application like a new TN Visa Application. There is an emphasis placed on proving your temporary intention.

The TN Visa was originally a one-year visa. U.S. Immigration passed a ruling to increase this to 3 years. Make sure you know how to write a strong  TN Visa Employer Letter. The Immigration Officer will approve your application.

What is the Difference Between an Initial TN Application and a TN Renewal?

The TN Renewal process in some ways is the same as your initial TN Visa Application but there are differences.

Knowing these differences can help you be successful, avoid problems, avoid scrutiny and avoid getting denied.

The first difference is can apply by mail using Form I-129 known as Extension of Status. You can apply in person and this is how a majority of applicants renew.

The second difference is you must show you qualify for the TN Visa under NAFTA. Review the TN Visa Requirements and ensure you qualify.

This means the Immigration Officer will ask you questions about your renewal and you should know how to answer these questions.

The TN Visa Expert Kit provides you sample Border Interview Questions that you may be asked. We’ve gathered these questions from our 20,000 successful TN Visa Kit Customers and you can benefit from them.

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TN-1 Renewal Options

When renewing your TN-1 Visa you have three options:

  1. Apply for a different long-term visa (such as the H-1B).
  2. Renew your TN Visa at the border - in person at an authorized Port of Entry.
  3. Renew your TN Visa by Mail (I-129 Extension)

Obtaining a Different Long-Term Visa

Several months before your renewal date, contact us to determine which long term visas you qualify for.

Visa Renewal At Border

The following is the essential material you will require to renew your TN-1 Visa:

  • Prepare and provide your complete TN Visa Application including the TN Visa Employer Letter and supporting documents.
  • The filing fee is $50. Plus a small additional fee for each I-94 Card.
  • Dependents will receive an I-94 Card.
  • Be prepared for a border interview by the Immigration Officer.
  • Read "Crossing the Border – When, Where and How" in The TN Visa Expert Kit to be fully prepared.

TN Visa By Mail (I-129) - Considerations

Many applicants find the mail-in process cumbersome and with the additional higher cost of the I-129 application not worth doing. Most applicants go back to the border and make a new entry rather than extend their stay by mail.

Another advantage to renewing at the border is you receive your TN Visa immediately. Applying by mail can take up to 3 months.

Two important pieces of information many applicants don't know when renewing by mail is:

1. You must include a TN Visa Employer Letter regardless of whether or not you are applying at the border or via mail.

2. An Immigration Officer may call you and conduct an interview over the phone, if you apply via mail.

Renewal By Mail - Essentials

The following is the essential material required to renew your TN-1 Visa via mail:

  • Prepare and provide your complete TN Visa Application including the TN Visa Employer Letter and supporting documents.
  • Obtain and complete  Form I-129.
  • The filing fee for the I-129 as of Dec 23, 2016 is $460. This is subject to change.
  • For dependents obtain and complete  Form I-539.
  • The filing fee for the I-539 as of Dec 23, 2016 is $370. This is subject to change.
  • Mail the forms, filing fees and TN Visa Application documents to USCIS.
  • Be prepared for a phone interview by the Immigration Officer.
  • Read the Border Preparation Chapter in the TN Visa Expert Kit to prepare for the potential questions that you can be asked at the time of applying.

I-129 Requirements

When filing by mail (I-129 Extension of Status) there are some important requirements. You must ensure these are met, so your TN application has a chance of being approved.

These are as follows:

  1. Complete the I-129 and sign it.
  2. File your I-129 prior to your current TN Visa expiry date.
  3. You must be residing in the U.S. you must be in the country when you file your I-129 application. This means you must be physically present in the United States. Since the application can take 2-3 months, make sure you arrange your plans for the next few months to avoid any travel.
  4. You must provide a valid passport that hasn't expired. If your passport has less than 6 months left before the expiry date, it is highly recommended to renew your passport.
  5. Your current TN Visa must be valid.

    You will need to provide the active I-94 and the stamp in your passport.
  6. You currently still have your job that you originally applied for.

    Since part of the TN Visa is having a job offer, you should also include recent pay stubs to show you have a job.
  7. You must submit a TN Visa Application along with the I-129 Form and show how they and the job qualify under USCMA / NAFTA agreement.

What If My I-94 Has Expired, Can I still apply for I-129 Extension?

In most cases if your TN Visa has expired and you file your I-129 petition, it would be denied.

However, there are several reasons that may allow you to request an exception. They are as follows:

  1. Your delayed filing was due to extraordinary circumstances.
  2. You have not had any criminal issues and not violated your status.
  3. Your immigration status is still a non-immigrant.
  4. You are in good standing and have not removal or deportation actions against you in progress.

Do you need help filing your I-129 Exception?

If you feel you meet one of the above Exceptions  email us, and we can help you file your I-129 application.

I-129 Application - Can You Travel and Leave the Country?

Travelling when you are applying for the I-129 is a little bit tricky. If you leave the country under some circumstances you will not be allowed back in, so knowing the rules will help you avoid issues.

The simplest way to remember the rules is:

"As long as your current TN Visa is valid (check your I-94 date) you can travel and leave the country. Once your current TN Visa expires, you should not travel outside the US."

If you file the I-129 and it is not approved by the time your TN Visa expires, then the following applies:

1. You are allowed to stay in the US.

2. You can work in the U.S. until I-129 application is approved or denied.

3. You should not leave the country.

4. If you leave the country, you will have problems re-entering.

Having Renewal or Mail-in Problems?

Email us, if you are having any questions, concerns or problems. We will attempt to help you resolve this as quick as possible.