This is an important update for Mexican nationals and those who are hoping to secure TN-2 visas in the future. Previously, the North American Free Trade Agreement (now the U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement) provided guidance on TN-2 visas for Canadian and Mexican nationals but only allowed Mexican nationals to hold the visas for one year. Now, the U.S. Department of State has amended its visa reciprocity chart to allow these visas to stand for up to four years for both Mexican and Canadian nationals.
In order to get the four-year TN-2 visa, Mexican citizens will pay a fee of $382 total (previously, each one-year visa cost $104). This allows Mexican nationals to travel in and out of the U.S. freely for a period of four years – but there are restrictions that remain in place that are necessary to understand.
All individuals holding TN-2 visa status are only permitted to work in the country for three years and must renew or extend their I-94 after three years. An important aspect of this change is that this should void many of the errors by US Customs and Border Protection officers. These officers often provided only one-year I-94s to Mexican nationals as opposed to the three-year I-94s that Canadian nationals generally received.
If you obtain a TN-2 visa, you will have four years to travel to the border and ask for entry into the United States. At that point, you will receive your I-94 which governs your ability to remain in the country. Your TN-2 visa remains active for the entire three-year period of your I-94 which allows you to travel to and from Mexico without having to worry about renewing the visa short of those three years. This accelerates the process and voids the need to make a visa appointment or have an interview in order to secure the visa.
Those wishing to take advantage of this new system will be able to do so right at the border, as well. This change provides significantly more freedom and flexibility to Mexican nationals hoping to work and live in the US. It also diminishes the risk of making honest mistakes that could cost you your immigrant status.
If you need help working through this process or have other questions surrounding your immigration status, contact Valvo & Associates.