U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Increases Period of Stay for Trade-NAFTA Professional
Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has increased the maximum period of time an individual entering the U.S. pursuant to the NAFTA professional worker provisions in TN classification. A TN professional worker who is a citizen of Canada or Mexico may remain in the U.S. for 3 years rather than the prior maximum period of 1 year. In addition, extensions of stay may also be requested in increments of 3 years rather than the prior 1 year.
The TN classification is a visa category that allows individuals of certain professions who are citizens of Canada or Mexico to be authorized to work in the U.S. in particular occupational classifications identified by NAFTA. For example, qualified occupational classifications identified in NAFTA include engineers, computer systems analysts, teachers, accountants, and attorneys. All of the approved occupational classifications carry a requirement of a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or appropriate professional credentials.
USCIS identifies that this final rule should ease the administrative costs for the government and the employer. It also enables the employer to hire TN workers for longer periods of time before having to seek an extension of status.
President Bush’s Initiative
This improvement was initially announced in August 2007 by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. It is one of 26 initiatives identified by President Bush’s Administration to address current immigration issues using authorities available under existing laws.
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