Skip to main content | Skip to main navigation

       
  leftbg

News:

FSIS website under construction
Starting September 20, 2013, we'll be making changes to the format of our website. We ask for your patience as this may be a lengthy process. Contact Signe at signen@hawaii.edu if you have problems with website functionality or navigation.

New I-94 procedure
From April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin implementing a paperless I-94 procedure at U.S. air and sea ports of entry.

EB immigrant visa availability
U.S. Department of State's monthly Visa Bulletin


Sponsoring TN Employment



STEP 1: UH job offer

STEP 2: Determine TN eligibility

STEP 3a: TN entry to the U.S.

STEP 3b: Prepare TN petition request

 


STEP 1: UH job offer [top]

Prospective employees can enter the U.S. in TN status after accepting a job offer from a U.S. employer. Likewise, if a prospective UH employee is already in the U.S. and needs TN petition approval for a change of status, change of employer, or concurrent employment, UH can only file a TN petition on his/her behalf if he/she has accepted a job offer from a UH department (i.e. an employment relationship exists between the UH department and the foreign national).

Once a UH department enters into an employment agreement with a foreign national, the department must determine whether he/she is eligible to work in the U.S. If he/she does not already have employment authorization that will allow him/her to work at UH, he/she will need the proper authorization before employment can begin. The TN classification may be an option for work authorization if the eligibility requirements are met.

Tenure-track positions: TN classification is not an option for tenure-track positions. For tenure-track positions, UH units must request H-1B or O-1 classification.

NOTE: UH does not classify stipend recipients (e.g. post-doctoral fellows) as employees. This means UH cannot seek TN classification for foreign nationals coming to UH as stipend recipients. Instead, the J-1 Exchange Visitor classification may be the most appropriate immigration status for such appointments.



STEP 2: Determine TN eligibility [top]

Minimum TN eligibility requirements:

  • The foreign national must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • The foreign national must have a job offer from a U.S. employer
  • The profession must be on the NAFTA professions list
  • The foreign national must possess the required education and skills for the profession
  • The position must require an individual in that professional capacity

After it has been determined that the prospective employee is eligible for TN classification, the department and beneficiary should proceed to Step 3a: Applying for TN entry to the U.S. OR 3b: Preparing a TN petition request, below.

 


STEP 3a: TN entry to the U.S. [top]

Canadian citizens do not need to obtain a visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate. Instead, they should apply for TN status using the required documentation at a U.S. port of entry. No prior petition approval is necessary. At the port of entry, the individual should show the following items and pay a US$56 fee:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship (e.g. passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • Letter of support from UH department that includes:
    • UH position description
    • Anticipated length of employment (may not exceed 3 years)
    • Qualifications needed for the job
    • Terms of employment (salary, hours, worksite(s), etc.)
  • Evidence of any applicable licensure requirements for the position.
  • Evidence of professional qualifications (diplomas, transcripts, etc.). If degree was received from an educational institution outside Canada, Mexico, or the U.S., the degree must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service which specializes in evaluating foreign educational credentials.

Mexican citizens must first obtain a TN entry visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate before they can apply for TN status at a U.S. port of entry. The individual should submit the following with his/her visa application to the U.S. embassy or consulate:

  • Proof of Mexican citizenship (e.g. passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • Letter of support from UH department that includes:
    • UH job description
    • Anticipated length of employment (may not exceed 3 years)
    • Qualifications needed for the job
    • Terms of employment (salary, hours, worksite(s), etc.)
  • Evidence of any applicable licensure requirements for the position.
  • Evidence of professional qualifications (diplomas, transcripts, etc.). If degree was received from an educational institution outside Canada, Mexico, or the U.S., the degree must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service which specializes in evaluating foreign educational credentials.
  • Applicable visa fees

After the TN visa is issued, he/she can apply for entry in TN status at a U.S. port of entry. In addition to the TN visa, he/she should present the items listed above at the port of entry.

Applying for admission at the port of entry (Canadians and Mexicans)

Individuals are not guaranteed entry to the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will review all immigration documents and ask the person questions about his/her stay. These officers have the discretion to admit a person in TN status and any family members in TD status and may refer them to a more detailed secondary inspection.

When the TN employee is admitted into the U.S., his/her documents should be returned and he/she should receive an admission date stamp in his/her passport with the notations “TN” (principal TN worker) or “TD” (dependents) and a date indicating the period ohe/she is authorized to stay in the U.S. He/she should also receive instructions on how to print an I-94 arrival record on CBP's I-94 website. The admission stamp with notations and the I-94 printout function as proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S. In some cases, a person may be issued a paper I-94 at entry, but CBP is phasing out this process. If he/she is issued a paper I-94, that card is evidence of his/her legal status in the U.S.

TN employees and TD family members should keep copies of all approval notices, passport biodata/expiration pages, visas, admission stamps, and I-94 records permanently in case any of the documents are lost or stolen.

After the TN employee arrives in the U.S., the following TN documents should be sent to FSIS so we can update our records and check that he/she was admitted properly at the port of entry:

  1. Completed Contact Information Form
  2. Copy of UH department’s support letter used for entry
  3. Copy of passport biodata/expiration page
  4. Copy of I-94 card or I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website
  5. Copy of admission stamp with notations in passport
  6. Copy of TN visa in passport (if applicable)
  7. Copies of #3-6 for each TD dependent (if applicable)

 


STEP 3b: Prepare TN petition request [top]

UH may file a TN petition with USCIS on behalf of Canadian citizens who are outside the U.S. and will seek TN admission. TN entry (see Step 3a, above) is still available to individuals who would prefer to apply for TN entry without TN petition approval.

UH must receive USCIS approval of a TN petition before a prospective employee can begin UH employment in the following situations:

  • If he/she is in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1, J-1) and will not depart and reenter the U.S. before UH TN employment will begin.
  • If he/she is a TN employee of another U.S. employer, will change to UH employment, and will not depart and reenter the U.S. before UH TN employment will begin.
  • If he/she is a TN employee of another U.S. employer, will be concurrently employed by UH, and will not depart and reenter the U.S. before UH TN employment will begin.

FIRST, if a TN petition is required, the UH department should complete/gather the following documents for the TN request:

SECOND, the department should forward the TN request to the college/school/unit’s Administrative/ Personnel Officer (AO/PO). The AO/PO should review the request, attach any necessary documents, and send the complete request packet to FSIS, Attn: Signe, PSB 102-106.

THIRD, FSIS will use the request packet to prepare the TN petition and return the completed petition to the AO/PO with instructions on payment of fee(s) and mailing to USCIS.

Important:

  • Petitions for TN changes of status and changes of employer must be received by USCIS no later than the business day on or before the employee’s current status end date. If USCIS receives these types of TN petitions late, the person will no longer be in valid status and may begin accruing unlawful presence.
  • The department should ask the TN beneficiary if he/she is:
    • An F-1 student whose F-1/OPT end date will occur more than 60 days prior to the intended TN start date; or
    • A J-1 exchange visitor whose program will end more than 30 days prior to the intended TN start date; or
    • Subject to the 2-year home country residence stemming from current/prior J-1 or J-2 status and has not fulfilled or received a waiver of the requirement. In this case, the person is not immediately eligible for a change of status to TN. To acquire TN status, he/she must leave the U.S. and follow the TN entry procedures (see Step 3a, above).
  • The department should ask the foreign national whether he/she has any family members who will require a TD change of status or extension.
  • UH can request periods of up to 3 years on each TN petition.
  • UH can submit a petition to USCIS up to 120 days prior to the intended TN start date.

USCIS receipt

When the petition and filing fees arrive at USCIS, USCIS will issue a receipt notice to FSIS as long as the TN petition is properly and timely filed.

  • Change of status to TN: If the individual is changing to TN status from another nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1, J-1), he/she should not leave the U.S. until the petition is approved by USCIS. If he/she leaves the U.S. while a change of status petition is pending with USCIS, the change of status will be abandoned. Departments should find out whether a TN beneficiary will need to travel abroad while the petition is pending before the petition is sent to USCIS. UH employment may begin when USCIS approves the TN petition.
  • Concurrent TN employment or change of TN employer: UH employment may begin/change to amended terms when USCIS approves the TN petition.
  • TN amendment: Changes to TN employment may not take place until USCIS approves the TN petition.
  • TN extension: The employee may continue working after FSIS receives the USCIS receipt notice for up to 240 days from the TN end date. The department can use a copy of the USCIS receipt notice to show employment eligibility while the petition is pending. USCIS receipt notices are often delayed. To ensure the receipt notice arrives in time to continue UH employment, the department should plan ahead so they can mail TN petitions to USCIS at least 3 weeks prior to the intended start date. Departments should use the USCIS receipt notice, rather than the courier’s delivery confirmation, to show employment eligibility. Even if delivery was timely, USCIS may later reject the petition. Rejected petitions are not considered “filed” with USCIS.

USCIS processing time

Adjudication time at USCIS will differ depending on the type of processing requested:

  • Regular Processing: Takes 2-4 months on average.
  • Premium Processing: USCIS will act on the petition (i.e. approval, denial, or a request for more evidence) within 15 calendar days of receipt. This service is available for an additional fee.

See the USCIS Case Status Service website to check the status of pending petitions and to see average processing times.

USCIS approval

When the petition is approved, USCIS will send a TN approval notice (Form I-797A Notice of Action) to FSIS. The original bottom portion of the approval notice belongs to the employee and should be kept in his/her passport. FSIS will keep the original top portion of the notice, which is the employer’s copy. FSIS will notify the AO/PO/contact when the approval notice has arrived.

Depending on the type of TN petition that was filed, action that must be taken after the TN approval notice is issued will differ:

  • Change of status to TN: TN status will automatically begin upon the TN approval notice start date. The person does not need to leave and reenter the U.S. to begin TN employment.
  • Concurrent TN employment, change of TN employer, TN amendment, or TN extension: TN status will automatically continue upon the TN approval notice start date. The person does not need to leave and reenter the U.S. to continue TN employment.


If a TN beneficiary cannot begin employment at UH for any reason, the department must notify FSIS immediately.


rightbg