Change Status from TN Visa to Green Card

NAFTA Professionals can transfer from TN visa to Green Card. However, there are requirements and considerations to keep in mind, such as the 90-day rule, timing of the TN visa renewal and consular processing. Read below to understand these and successfully change status from TN visa to Green Card.

I. What is a TN visa?

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the U.S. government created a TN visa for Canadian citizens and a TN visa for Mexican citizens for temporary entrance into the United States to engage in certain business activities in their professional capacity.

II. Does the 90-day rule apply for TN visa holders?

As mentioned in our previous sections, the 90-day rule was developed by the U.S. State Department to carefully determine whether or not a marriage-based Green Card applicant had misrepresented their intent to enter the United States when applying for their temporary visa. Under the 90-day rule, filing for Form I-485 within the 90-days from entering the United States will be deemed as contrary actions to the applicant’s initial intents, and will most likely result in a denial, and jeopardize the currently valid temporary visa as well. Therefore it is highly recommended that an applicant for a marriage-based green card waits beyond the 90-day rule window to avoid any suspicions.

III. What’s the general process of applying for a marriage-based Green Card as a TN visa holder?

As with all other marriage-based Green Card applicants, the process will depend on whether the TN visa holder is married to a U.S. citizen or a U.S. Green Card holder, and where the TN visa holder is residing within the United States or outside of the United States.

  1. If married to a U.S. citizen and residing within the United States
    • Form I-130 and I-485 concurrent filing is available
  2. If married to a U.S. citizen and residing outside the United States
    • Consular processing is available
    • Must leave the United States if their TN visa expires
  3. If married to a U.S. Green Card holder
    • Must wait for Green Card availability after filing Form I-130
    • May file Form I-485 within the United States or at home country through consular processing
    • Must leave the United States if their TN visa expires and continue with consular processing at home country

IV. Are there any other things TN visa holders should worry about?

When choosing to apply for a marriage-based Green Card, there are important things to consider and not to jeopardize the current TN visa.

  1. Renewing your TN visa
    • This can raise issues with the USCIS after applying for a marriage-based Green Card. When applying for a marriage-based Green Card, the applicant will be holding out to the USCIS that they are intending to immigrate to the United States. Therefore, any TN visa renewal will be inconsistent with the new intent to permanently reside inside the United States
  2. Expiration of TN visa
    • It is crucial to maintain your current temporary visa. Should the temporary visa expire, the marriage-based Green Card applicant must return to their home country to finish the marriage-Green Card application process by consular processing.
    • Overstaying after the expiration of a temporary visa can lead to the denial of the marriage-based Green Card application, invalidation of the current valid temporary visa, and potentially lead to being barred from entry into the United States for several years.

Once you file your marriage-based Green Card application, either consular processing or the adjustment of status, Lawfully USCIS Case Tracker can provide personalized predictions for the processing time by using the AI machine learning algorithm. Download and try Lawfully USCIS Case Tracker app to get real-time USCIS updates and information on the expected decision date.