A TN visa is a visa available to Canadians and Mexicans and is based on a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The visa is available for certain professions (eg. graphic designer, lawyer, accountant, analysts, finance people, etc.) and can be issued for up to 3 years.
You can find out more about the TN visa requirements by clicking here.
The TN visa is a temporary visa (not a green card) and is considered a single intent visa. This means that when an applicant enters the U.S., he/she is asserting that their stay is temporary and they plan to leave the U.S. at some point. A dual-intent visa (eg. H-1B Visa or L-1 Visa) allows an applicant to enter the U.S. with the intent to obtain a green card and stay permanently. The question often comes up of: Can a person on a TN visa can apply for a green card? The short answer is Yes.
The green card system in the U.S. allows anyone on a non-immigrant visa (including a TN visa) to apply for a green card as long as they are eligible for one. The potential issue though is one of timing. In the past, TN visas were only issued for one year so if one applied for a green card while on a TN, the green card would likely not be approved before the applicant had to reapply for the TN. Also, the short duration could make the Government question your intent when you entered if you applied for the Green Card shortly after entering. While applying for a green card while in the U.S. is not a problem (as long as your intent was not to apply when you entered), once you apply for a green card, it will be extremely difficult to obtain another non-immigrant single intent visa. As such, if your visa was issued for a year and it expired, you would likely not be able to renew if you had a Green Card petition outstanding. Now though, TN visas are issued for 3 years (for Canadians) so an applicant could apply for a green card with careful planning.
The intricacies of intent and timing are crucial to a successful petition so you should consult a qualified immigration lawyer prior to proceeding.
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