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TN Visa - Any of you familiar with this Visa and with things like how early you can apply, Q's asked, etc?

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  • Dec 13th, 2019 12:26 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 23, 2012
6 posts
Ontario

TN Visa - Any of you familiar with this Visa and with things like how early you can apply, Q's asked, etc?

So I work for a big company that has office locations in the US, they helped me by hiring lawyers to complete my documentation (sponsor letters, forms filled out, etc). I had a few questions for anyone with experience through this (for the record, I'm meeting with the lawyers next week but I'm a bit impatientand wanted some of your thoughts)

1) How was the interview at the border and what sorts of questions do they ask?

2) Now I already work for this company as a virtual employee in Canada and have been employed by them for the last 5 years. The lawyers my company hired had the start/end dates read Dec 1, 2019 to Dec 1, 2022....now this confused me a bit because they FedEx'd me the docs the on Dec 2nd (I assume they know what they'redoing). The question is, is there anyhting wrong with the dates they chose? I ask because this leads me to question 3...

3) I will definitely go over this question with the lawyers next week, but thought I'd throw it out here as well. I've been reading a lot online about how early you can apply, many if not all sites say things like "You should not apply with the intention of obtaining your TN Visa and then immediately returning to Canada to finalize your affairs. The Officer will ask you to return when you are ready to move." Other sites say you can only apply up to 10 days before "you start".

But how does this work for someone who is already employed by the company? Can I, for example, apply for TN Visa on Dec 12th, and then return to Canada, and then when I'm ready (let's say when I sell my apartment, find a new apartment in the US city) move. So is it possible for someone in my situation to get the Visa on Dec 12th and leave to the US in March 2020?
7 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
5139 posts
1187 upvotes
Ottawa
Are you currently employed by a Canadian division of this company? If so I think you should apply for an L1 visa instead of a TN.

1) I got my TN 20 years ago so it likely changed since then but at the time, there was very little, asked to see my diploma, the letter of offer, how long I was going for, etc (it was probably 5 minutes. This might vary a lot depending on the category you are applying for and how close you fit to it (mine was a very straightforward)
2) Honestly, I think having a start date in the past might raise some flags but you can probably just explain that you are working from Canada until you get the TN
3) Again, normally they don't grant them for "future use" but they do have some leeway. Again, you can probably use the fact that you were working for them in Canada (I had a TN when I was teleworking for a US company because although I did much of the work from home in Canada, I did go onsite about 1 week per month). However that brings up an important point. TNs are non-immigrant visas which means they might expect you to maintain a foreign residence (hopefully someone else has more information on this). If you are selling your place, moving all your belongings and not keeping ties in Canada, you might get a harder time.
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2018
1786 posts
1359 upvotes
Bay Area
michelb wrote: Are you currently employed by a Canadian division of this company? If so I think you should apply for an L1 visa instead of a TN.
That's my first thought as well. But I suppose as long as OP doesn't bring up being employed at the Canadian division they can't really check.
3) Again, normally they don't grant them for "future use" but they do have some leeway. Again, you can probably use the fact that you were working for them in Canada (I had a TN when I was teleworking for a US company because although I did much of the work from home in Canada, I did go onsite about 1 week per month). However that brings up an important point. TNs are non-immigrant visas which means they might expect you to maintain a foreign residence (hopefully someone else has more information on this). If you are selling your place, moving all your belongings and not keeping ties in Canada, you might get a harder time.
They don't care, like really really really not care about residential ties. In fact my lawyer never even asked me to bring proof of ties. Plus I applied right after I graduated so it would've been hard to show any ties since I had no assets. Face With Tears Of Joy

As for "future use", depends on the crossing and down to the individual officer. When I called my intended port of entry (Peace Bridge/Buffalo), the CBP officer specifically said as long as it's not something ridiculous like a month away then they can accommodate. So I settled for 2 weeks and got my TN 2 weeks ahead of time.

@bugmenot12 I actually highly recommend you get your TN as soon as humanly possible, since it takes a minimum of a few weeks for all the data to be transmitted to various depts so you can apply for your SSN. If you apply for your TN on the day of, you may find your first month in the US to be highly inconvenient since you won't be able to get an SSN until SSA has all your details.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
5139 posts
1187 upvotes
Ottawa
arkane wrote: That's my first thought as well. But I suppose as long as OP doesn't bring up being employed at the Canadian division they can't really check.



They don't care, like really really really not care about residential ties. In fact my lawyer never even asked me to bring proof of ties. Plus I applied right after I graduated so it would've been hard to show any ties since I had no assets. Face With Tears Of Joy

As for "future use", depends on the crossing and down to the individual officer. When I called my intended port of entry (Peace Bridge/Buffalo), the CBP officer specifically said as long as it's not something ridiculous like a month away then they can accommodate. So I settled for 2 weeks and got my TN 2 weeks ahead of time.

@bugmenot12 I actually highly recommend you get your TN as soon as humanly possible, since it takes a minimum of a few weeks for all the data to be transmitted to various depts so you can apply for your SSN. If you apply for your TN on the day of, you may find your first month in the US to be highly inconvenient since you won't be able to get an SSN until SSA has all your details.
For the L1, it's not because it would hurt his chances of getting a TN if they knew he worked there, it's because an L1, if you qualify, is a much better visa to get; no categories to fit under, not really any requirements so I don't think it can really get refused, it's valid for 5 or 7 years and I believe dependents can work.

As far as the "future use", the OP is asking if he can apply now to use 3.5 months from now.
Sr. Member
Feb 19, 2017
543 posts
279 upvotes
michelb wrote: For the L1, it's not because it would hurt his chances of getting a TN if they knew he worked there, it's because an L1, if you qualify, is a much better visa to get; no categories to fit under, not really any requirements so I don't think it can really get refused, it's valid for 5 or 7 years and I believe dependents can work.

As far as the "future use", the OP is asking if he can apply now to use 3.5 months from now.
This. You should really push them to apply for an L1 for you. It might cost a little more and require more paperwork, but definitely worth it.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 2, 2006
3608 posts
509 upvotes
Your situation sounds more like an intra-company transfer, which as what people here have already said, the L1 visa is designed for.

I did go through the TN visa application last July. The border official did not ask me any questions, which is not the norm. He called my name, ask me for my $50 payment, then he stamped my passport. It helped that I had all the supporting documents organized in a binder. Plus, I work for a well-known institution here in the US.

I applied for the visa at the airport (US pre-clearance) just before my departure. I left Canada on a Thursday and my first day of work was the following Monday.
Member
May 9, 2012
476 posts
106 upvotes
SF Bay Area
As previous posters have said, get a L1.

In case you want to get a green card later on, it's much easier to go from L1 then TN to H1B to green card.

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