I am on a TN visa and was furloughed because of Corona Virus. I want to change employers on my TN. What if I lose my TN Job?

By March 29, 2020October 19th, 2020Covid 19, Immigration, TN Visa

A TN visa is a visa that is available for nationals from Canada and Mexico.  The applicant must have a job offer and must also have a degree in a designated profession or field.  You can find out more about the TN visa by clicking here.  If an applicant is Canadian, the application process can be done at a border crossing where the applicant shows the documentation while entering the U.S.  If an applicant is Mexican, the applicant must apply for the TN visa at a U.S. Consulate.

You can find out more about why a TN visa is not sponsorship.

Some applicants on TN status have been furloughed, placed on leave, or terminated due to the Corona Virus.  This post summarizes the implication and some possible strategies.

What if I am terminated while on a TN visa?  What if I find another Job after I have been Terminated?

If you are terminated, and you have a valid I-94, you have a 60-day grace period where you can stay in the U.S. and look for other employment.   You cannot work during this period.   If you find another job, you can file a petition in the U.S. for TN status with the new employer, BUT you will have to wait until the petition has been approved to start working. The approval could take over 6 months and premium processing has been temporarily suspended due to the Corona virus.  Once the application has been filed, you are in a period of authorized stay as long as the petition is filed before your I-94 expires. You should also note that the employer is the one who files the petition.

Normally an applicant would just go to Canada and then reenter but the Canada/U.S. border has been closed.  If the border reopens, the applicant could return to Canada and obtain the TN visa at the border.  The petition in the U.S. would still be adjudicated, unless withdrawn.   If withdrawn, there may be a short unauthorized stay as USCIS will backdate the withdrawal to your application date.

What happens if I am Furloughed while on a TN?

If you are furloughed, and there is a reasonable expectation of return to the same employer, there is an argument that you are in valid status until you return to work.  The exact conclusion would depend on the terms of the furlough, and whether there was a reasonable expectation of return.  If your employment resumes, you would not have to file another TN petition and could continue working.

Can a company reduce my pay while I am on a TN Visa?  What if my Company moves me to Part-Time?

Yes.   When there has been a significant change in the terms of employment, there may be a need to file an amended petition but a reduction in salary may be fine depending on the amount. If a company moves an employee to part-time from full-time, this would normally necessitate a significant change of employment that may require a modified petition, but this is fact specific.

I have to renew my TN and cannot return to Canada or Mexico because of Corona Virus.  What can I do?

If you are renewing a TN visa with the same employer for the same job, you can file a petition in the U.S. to extend your TN status by 3 years.  If the petition is filed before the expiration date of your status, you can continue working at the same employer for 240 days without interruption even if the petition has not been approved.

You can find out more about TN visas by clicking here.

You can see our Corona Virus resource page by clicking here.

We have provided a number of links with key immigration information related to the Corona Virus.

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15 Comments

  • Carlos says:

    Hi, I was on the process of renewing by TN Visa with my company but was laid off because of COVID during this time my I94 expired. Would I still have the 60 day grace period to apply for a different company?

  • Parni says:

    Thank you for considering to reply. I am a Canadian Citizen living in Seattle, and my current contract got terminated. I have been offered the role of data analyst from a new employer. I have two questions-

    1. Should I cross the border and go to Vancouver at the port of entry to get my visa renewed? Is that still possible at the Vancouver airport US custom borders?

    2.Will I have to self-quarantine in Vancouver for 14 days before heading back to the airport? Last time I did this I was able to return to Seattle the same day.

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • Mahender says:

    I’m on a TN visa, I was asked to go home and work remotely due to Corona virus pandemic It was my first working day and SSA offices were closed from the very next day. Now, I’m in Canada and doing remote work but I’m unable to register for a SSN. Contacted US consulate and SSA office in Niagara falls, both of then were also helpless.

    What options are available to to get SSN? Will my employer be able to run my payroll using ITIN untill I get my SSN after my return to US?

    I really appreciate any advise you can give me.

    Thank you.

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • Claire Johnstone says:

    Can a Canadian citizen with a tn visa apply for unemployment of they are furloughed due to Covid-19?

    • claire johnstone says:

      I am a nurse who commutes to NYS with my TN from Ontario each day for work. They are offering furloughs, and I am unsure if I will qualify for unemployment. Thank you.

      • IanScott says:

        Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

        https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • Ryan says:

    I’m in this exact situation — I’m a Canadian citizen on a TN Visa in Oregon, and have been furloughed. I am pursuing a new employer. In normal conditions, I believe I would just go back to my port of entry, and re-apply with my new employer information. However, being unable to do so due to coronavirus, what is my strategy for changing my TN employer?

    • IanScott says:

      If your job is essential, then you could likely still go to the border and get a TN. IF not, the option is changing through USCIS but you would have to wait until the visa has been approved to start.

  • Thomas Van Eyk says:

    The job I was speaking of above is set to start in June. I realize that things can change a lot before then, I am simply asking for advice given the current situation and I will continue to follow the situation as it unfolds.

    Thanks again!

  • Thomas Van Eyk says:

    Thank you for all the information! I am a Canadian and I received a job offer in February to work in a forestry job that qualifies as a “Scientific Technician” under a TN visa in California. Under the current travel restrictions, could I still cross the border and apply for a TN visa? I have a SSN from a previous TN visa stay in the USA, but I will still need to get my visa and I-94 at the border. Will I be able to do that at the land border between B.C. and Washington rather than an airport?

    I appreciate any help you can give me!

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