I have a question that seems like it would be common, but I have not found much online about it.

I have a job offer that requires moving from Canada to the US on a TN visa. When it comes to visas, my understanding is that the general process is apply for the visa, get approved, then find an apartment/housing and move. With a TN visa, you are not approved until you're in the process of moving (when you arrive at the border about 1-2 weeks before your start date).

My question is, how do people manage apartment leases/contracts in this scenario where your visa may possibly be rejected at the last moment? Since you're in the middle of moving you must have some apartment pre-arranged before you cross the border. It seems like a bad decision to sign a contract that is for more than a month or two before knowing your visa status. So do most people in this scenario typically sign a short term 1-2 month contract beforehand, and then only look for something long-term once they cross the border and know that their visa has been approved? Also I'm guessing that you should not plan to move any time near the end of your current lease, since a visa rejection would mean that you still need an apartment to return to. Is there a better/alternative way to handle these things, or should you just hope for the best?

Edit: If anyone comes across this in the future, I later asked this on the r/immigration subreddit and got some useful comments there: https://www.reddit.com/r/immigration/comments/ght83a/tn_status_and_apartment_rental_contractsleases/?sort=qa

  • I don't know the answer to your question, but you might consider also posting it on academia.stackexchange.com as those in higher education may well have faced the same challenge. – DavidSupportsMonica May 8 at 23:53
  • Thanks for the tip! – Fred May 9 at 23:02
  • As far as I am aware, you can apply for a visa beforehand, even though doing so is not necessary for citizens of Canada. Whether this helps with your practical concerns is another matter, of course, as is the question of whether it is worth the additional expense and hassle. – phoog May 10 at 17:19

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