USCIS has announced a new filing option on behalf of Canadian TN Nonimmigrants. As of October 1st, USCIS will begin accepting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of Canadian citizens who are outside of the United States and seeking classification as a TN nonimmigrant. This change in the policy allows Canadians who wish to petition USCIS rather than applying at the port of entry through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as has been the procedure in the past.
While this change does grant more options to Canadians who may not be able to readily make their way to a U.S. port of entry, it must also be noted that it is more expensive to apply to USCIS, as the filing fee is $325 rather than the less expensive fee of $56 at the port of entry. In addition, the filing for a TN petition with USCIS will take a longer time to get adjudicated because the immigration service center will need to review the petition. This could take anywhere from 1-2 months at a minimum, while a petition at the port of entry will have a decision that day for the TN visa and the visa will be issued that very day.
So while the change is a good one for providing Canadians more options when filing for a TN visa, the considerations mentioned above should be discussed with any employer before deciding what is best when applying for a TN visa. Our office has been very successful in getting TN visas granted for our clients and can answer any questions you may have should a TN visa be in your future.