The TN visa can be an excellent option for nationals of Canada or Mexico who want to work in the United States. To qualify, the applicant must have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer to work in a listed profession, and the applicant must be qualified to work in that profession. The list of professions and their related qualifications is published in the TN regulations at 8 CFR 214.6. For more information on the TN visa and its requirements, please see our earlier post here.
It is not uncommon for those who are eligible for a TN visa to consider working for more than one TN employer – for example, by working two part-time jobs or one full-time and one part-time job. This raises the question of whether it is permissible for a TN employee to work for more than one TN employer.
Does U.S. immigration law allow an individual on a TN visa to work for more than one TN employer?
The simple answer to this question is yes – it is possible for a TN worker to receive authorization from the government to work for more than one TN employer, which we call “concurrent” employment.
Because a TN visa or TN status is granted for the TN worker to work for a specific employer, it is important to first receive authorization from the U.S. government before starting concurrent employment (in other words, before beginning to work for the additional employer). There are several options to do this, depending on whether the TN worker is a national of Canada or Mexico.
How do I apply for concurrent employment on a TN visa?
The process to apply for authorization to engage in concurrent employment on a TN visa closely resembles the process to apply for the initial TN visa or status. Nationals of Canada can apply for concurrent TN employment authorization at the border, at a consulate, or through USCIS.
If they do not already have a TN visa, nationals of Mexico only have the latter two options: they can apply for concurrent employment authorization either at a consulate or through USCIS. However, nationals of Mexico who already have a valid TN visa can present their TN application materials (including a letter from the new, concurrent employer and documents demonstrating that they qualify for the visa) at the port of entry in order to add the concurrent employer.
To apply for concurrent employment at a consulate, the applicant would file a Form DS-160 online and would specify that they are seeking a TN visa in order to work for two TN employers. The applicant will want to bring to their interview the necessary supporting documentation that supports employment for both employers.
To apply for concurrent employment through USCIS, the individual must be physically present in the United States. This can be an attractive option if the applicant does not want to leave the U.S. They would submit the Form I-129 to USCIS, informing the government that they are applying for TN status to work for more than one TN employer, and providing the necessary supporting documentation. Keep in mind that USCIS can only grant TN status for the duration of the applicant’s time in the United States. Once they depart, they should plan to submit their TN materials either to a port of entry (if a Canadian national, see below for more details) or at a consulate (if a national of Mexico).
To apply for concurrent employment at the border, Canadian nationals or Mexican nationals who already have a valid TN visa can visit the port of entry and would bring with them the necessary supporting documentation for both employers. It is important that the applicant make clear that they are seeking authorization to work for more than one TN employer. Mexican nationals who do not have a valid TN visa must apply at a consulate.
What are unique aspects and risks of applying for concurrent employment?
For any TN visa, the applicant must demonstrate to the government that they have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer, that they will practice one of the specifically listed TN professions, and that they have the required educational or professional background for that specific profession, as described in the TN regulations. When an applicant is requesting permission to work for two TN employers, the government will require that the applicant satisfies these requirements for each. By its nature, this tends to increase the risk of denial, but requests for concurrent TN employment are frequently granted, particularly if certain aspects are kept in mind.
In any TN application, it is important that the applicant make clear how they qualify for the visa under the TN regulations. This is especially important for concurrent employment. The applicant should, for each employer, make clear what profession they will be practicing, how they qualify for that profession, and why the employer requires their services. This should all be detailed in the letter from the employer that the applicant submits with their application, and it should also be demonstrated in the supporting documents provided with the application (such as diplomas, transcripts, and experience letters from past employers).
Also, the concurrent employment should make sense logistically. An officer will likely struggle to understand how an applicant will engage in concurrent employment when each job requires 50 hours per week in offices separated by hundreds of miles. The application should reflect that thought has been put into how the employee will perform for each employer the work they say they will.
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