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I'm Mexican and I'm on vacation in the U.S, I entered the country with my B2 visa, and while I was here I was contacted for a job offer.

My potential employer has started the process to request a TN visa, however, they would like me to start work on early November, and I was not set to leave the U.S until mid-November (I already have my plane tickets), I'd like to know if there is a way for my visa request/interview to happen within the country, or a way for my employer to request the status change, so I don't have to leave early for the interview in the consulate, then come back in a rush, since I'd have virtually no time to find a place to live for the duration of the job, and it would be pretty difficult and expensive to find flights on such short notice.

Thank you in advance

  • What do you mean by "the process to request a TN visa"? – user102008 Oct 11 '18 at 21:55
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You can change nonimmigrant status without leaving the US. The current application fee is $370.

If you are successful, you will not receive a TN visa, however, so the next time you're outside the US, you'll need to pay another $160 for a visa before you can re-enter the US in TN status.

Another problem is that change of status applications can take months to process, and as I understand it you won't actually be allowed to work until the application is approved. So an early November start date seems ambitious. If you cannot postpone the start date, you may want to return to Mexico immediately to apply for a visa. The wait time for an appointment in Mexico City, for example, for categories other than visitors and students, is currently one day.

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It's possible to apply for a Change of Status (change from one nonimmigrant status to another within the US).

Changing into or extending a work status like E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1C, H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3, Q-1, R-1, or TN, can only be done by the employer filing I-129, rather than you filing I-539 (which is the way to change into or extend other nonimmigrant statuses). In the case of H-1b, L-1, O-1, etc., the employer needed to file I-129 to petition for you anyway (regardless of whether you are doing Change of Status in the US or a visa abroad), so they don't need to do any extra work to also request a Change of Status or Extension of Status. But in the case of TN, a petition is normally not needed -- you normally only need an employer offer letter to gain entry into TN status (for Canadians) or to get a TN visa (for Mexicans). But in the case where you want to do Change of Status into TN or Extension of Status for TN inside the US, the employer has to do the extra work of filing I-129 (with a $460 fee). If the employer is not willing to file I-129, your only option is to get a TN visa abroad.

I am not sure what you mean by "My potential employer has started the process to request a TN visa". If you mean that they have filed I-129, then they should have also requested a Change of Status on it too.

And as phoog mentioned, if you leave the US, you will need to get a TN visa to return to the US anyway. Status is only for a particular stay; you need a visa to enter the US. And as phoog also mentioned, Change of Status takes several months, so it is unlikely for you to be approved by November if your employer files around now. It is much faster to leave and get a visa.

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