TN Visa Change of Employer:

Things You Should Know


The NAFTA TN visa classification offers an excellent pathway for Mexican and Canadian nationals who want to work in the U.S. Not only does the TN classification allow them to work in the U.S. in a variety of professional occupations, it also allows them to change employers while working in the U.S. under TN visa.

TN visa holders have multiple ways to seek a change of employer. Furthermore, there are distinct differences in the way Canadian and Mexican citizens can change their employers, often adding to the confusion of how to navigate the process.

For the benefit of those in TN status, we present here pointers on how to successfully steer through the process of changing employers while in TN status.

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A. Change of Employer Under The TN Visa Classification

TN status is employer-specific, meaning NAFTA TN visa holders can work only for the U.S. employer listed on the TN application. Working for an employer different from the one listed in the TN application is a violation of U.S. immigration laws.

Canadian and Mexican Citizens working in the U.S. in TN status can change their employer at any time, as long as the proper procedures are followed.

TN status holders generally have two options to change their employers.

  1. The new TN employer can file a Form I-129 petition with USCIS, or
  2. The employee can depart the U.S. and request a new TN at a U.S. port-of-entry or a U.S. consulate.

The process for TN visa change of employer differs for Canadians and Mexicans. Let’s take a closer look at both.

1. Change of Employer – Canadian TN Visa

Canadian nationals are exempt from having to obtain nonimmigrant TN visas. As such, Canadian nationals may obtain TN status by applying directly with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a Class A Port of Entry or Pre-Clearance Inspection Station.

Once in the U.S., in order to change employers, Canadian nationals could either:

a.Depart the U.S. and apply for readmission in TN status at a Port of Entry/Pre-Clearance Inspection Station. The applicants must ensure to submit a letter from the new prospective U.S. employer, along with all the supporting evidence generally required for the initial entry; or

b.Have the new employer file Form I-129 with USCIS in order to request a Change of Employer and Extension of Stay.

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2. Change of Employer – Mexican TN Visa

Unlike Canadian Citizens, Mexican Citizens are required to obtain a TN visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy before they can seek admission into the U.S. under TN visa classification.

Once in the U.S., in order to change employers, Mexican nationals under TN status could either:

a.Depart the U.S. and apply for a new TN visa at a U.S. Consulate by submitting the letter from the new prospective U.S.-based employer and the same supporting evidence required for the initial visa; or

b.Have the new employer file Form I-129 with USCIS in order to request a Change of Employer and Extension of Stay.

Mexican nationals who have a valid TN work visa stamped in their passport can also change employers by presenting the required letter from the new employer and other supporting evidence directly to the CBP at a Port of Entry. The applicant must pay $50 plus a $6 fee for the new I-94.

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My Case Scenario

Maria, a Mexican national, was working in the U.S. as a Pharmacist at Sergom Pharmaceuticals when she was offered a new job with LMNO Pharmacy. LMNO Pharmacy filed I-129 petition to change her employer so she can work for them as a Pharmacist. The petition was approved while she was in Mexico. She has a valid TN work visa in her passport that she obtained in Ciudad Juarez before joining Sergom Pharmaceuticals. Does Maria need a new TN visa to enter the U.S.?

Maria does not need a new TN visa. She can simply go to the port of entry and present the new Approval Notice and the previously issued TN visa to the CBP officer. She will be admitted to the U.S. for the full validity as shown on the Approval Notice.

B. Change Employer Under TN Visa: Things To Remember

While the TN visa transfer employer process generally appears straightforward, it does have many nuances that employers and employees should keep in mind.

  • Changes in employment, which can include a TN visa change employer, requires notifying immigration to ensure that the foreign national maintains valid nonimmigrant status.
  • If the prospective employer files Form I-129 seeking change of employer under NAFTA TN visa classification, applicants in TN status must wait until the petition is approved before they can begin working for the new employer. Portability provision available to H-1B visa holders is not available to those in TN status.
  • In certain instances, corporate restructuring may necessitate the filing of a change of employer application to ensure that the Canadian or Mexican national can continue to remain in valid TN status. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine if a corporate restructuring, acquisition or merger has resulted in the need to file a new TN application.
  • In complex scenarios, where the TN applications were previously denied by CBP at the Port of Entry for Canadians or by the U.S. Consulate for Mexicans, the employer should consider filing Form I-129 to obtain an approval from USCIS. The Beneficiary can then present the USCIS Approval Notice to CBP or the U.S. Consulate to obtain entry or the visa, respectively.


The TN visa change of employer process has many nuances. There are multiple ways in which TN workers can change employers, and there are differences in the way Canadian and Mexican Citizens can change TN employers. TN workers and employers who are seeking a change of TN employer must evaluate all available options and determine the one most suitable in their situation.

If you have any questions regarding changes to your TN status, or need help in filing for a US work visa, contact our experienced immigration attorneys immediately for a FREE Immigration Consultation.

We’ll analyze your specific situation and recommend the most effective strategy based on our attorneys’ near 100% success rates.

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