How is TN Processing Handled at USC?

The TN visa was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  It is reserved for Citizens of Canada and Mexico.  TN status permits the individual to work in a position that is on the narrow list of occupations allowed by the treaty.  How we handle TN sponsorship is informed by both Federal regulations and USC’s internal institutional policies and systems.

TN holders must intend to return to their home country at the end of their TN stay.  In other words, they cannot have U.S. legal permanent residence as an objective when entering the U.S.

At USC, all TN requests must be submitted by the hiring department to FSVS.

The USC Job Offered Must Qualify for TN Status

  • The job must meet the minimum education requirements in both the NAFTA Treaty Appendix and the USC Job Code.
  • The department must be offering a full-time, fully benefits-eligible position.

The Person Must Qualify for TN Status

The individual must possess the minimum education and experience required for the TN job, and have no background issues that would prevent them taking up TN status.


TN status can be requested for up to 3 years at a time.

TN Processing Times at USC

Requests are submitted by the department to FSVS.  Processing cannot begin until all of the required information and materials are complete.  We advise departments to submit to FSVS a full 6 months prior to the needed start date.  Later submissions carry an increasing risk that the need cannot be met.

Total processing time varies, depending on the factors each case presents and whether the case involves Pre-Flight Inspection or a USCIS filing.  A projected processing timeline will be sent to the individual and the department when processing begins.

  • Stage 1:  Processing at FSVS:  For either Pre-Flight Inspection or USCIS filing:  4 Weeks.
  • Stage 2:  Government Processing:
    • Via Pre Flight Inspection (PFI): Variable.
    • Via USCIS Filing: 15 Days. Does not include delays that may result from a USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE).
  • Stage 3:  Approval Document Delivery:
    • Via Pre Flight Inspection (PFI): Immediate.
    • Via USCIS Filing: 14 days.

Maintaining TN Status

TN employment is limited to what is described on the request to the government.  If the person’s employment is changing, or the person is changing employers, a new request needs to be made.

An individual may work for two TN employers, if both have approved TN authorization to employ that person.

TN extension requests should be made to FSVS a full 6 months in advance.  The individual and the department are jointly responsible for making sure the request comes to us timely.

Visa Stamps and Traveling as a TN

Depending on the specific factors involved, FSVS will discuss this at the outset of the case.

TN Dependents:  TD Status

TD status is available for the spouse and children (under 21) of a TN holder.  This will be discussed at the outset of the case.

TD holders are not authorized to work.