Eligible family members do not need to be Canadian or Mexican citizens to qualify for TD dependent status. Unmarried children under 21 years of age and spouses of TN employees are eligible for TD status. A child can no longer stay in the U.S. as a TD dependent after turning 21. In order to remain in the U.S., the child must change to a different nonimmigrant visa status (e.g., F-1 student, B-2 visitor).
Obtaining and extending TD status
There are two ways family members can acquire or extend TD status: (A) by applying for TD visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the U.S. and then applying for TD admission at a U.S. port of entry or (B) by submitting a Form I-539 (and Form I-539A for each additional dependent) application to USCIS while they remain in the U.S.
|(A) TD entry to the U.S.||(B) TD in-country application|
Use this option when the family members are either currently outside the U.S.. and will enter as TD dependents or when they are in the U.S., but plan to depart before their current statuses expire and then return in TD status. Family members may apply for TD admission with or after the TN employee’s arrival in the U.S.
Canadian citizens do not need to apply for visas at U.S. embassies or consulates nor do they need to file applications with USCIS prior to applying for TD admission at a port of entry.
Citizens from other countries are required to obtain TD visas from U.S. embassies or consulates. Family members do not need to file a prior application with USCIS before applying for their visas. Families need to consider the waiting periods for visa interview appointments and visa issuance and plan ahead to allow enough time to obtain the necessary visas to enter the U.S.
See Option A: TD entry for the next steps.
Use this option when UH is filing a TN change of status petition for an employee and their dependent family members (e.g., F-2, H-4) will be in the U.S. at the time the employee’s change to TN status takes place. The family must file a Form I-539 (and Form I-539A for each additional dependent) to apply for TD changes of status at the same time UH files the TN petition. However, if the family members are in an independent status (e.g., F-1, H-1B), they can remain in that status as long as it is valid. They may file a Form I-539/I-539A to change status to TD after the employee’s TN petition is submitted, but before their current status expires.
If UH is filing a TN extension petition for an employee, dependents who will be in the U.S. when their current TD status expires must submit a Form I-539/I-539A application to extend their TD statuses. Dependents who will be outside the U.S. when their current TD status expires do not need to file Form I-539/I-539A. After the employee’s TN petition is approved, they need to follow the TD entry procedures.
USCIS must receive the Form I-539/I-539A application by the business day on or before the current status end date. If USCIS receives the Form I-539/I-539A late, dependents may accrue unlawful presence.
See Option B: TD in-country application for the next steps.
Option A: TD entry
Each family member needs to follow these steps to apply for a TD visa and admission to the U.S.:
1. Apply for an TD visa.
Canadian citizens can skip this step and proceed to “2. Apply for TD admission at a U.S. port of entry” below. Individuals who already have TD visas that will be valid on the date they arrive in the U.S. do not need to apply for new ones and may also proceed to “2. Apply for TD admission at a U.S. port of entry” below.
The U.S. Department of State’s U.S. embassies and consulates website contains information on visa application requirements and instructions on how make appointments for a visa interviews. It is best for dependents to apply at the U.S. embassy/consulate having jurisdiction over their place of residence, though they may apply at any U.S. embassies/consulates worldwide that permit third country nationals’ applications. Anyone who was ever a visa overstay in the U.S. must apply for the visa at a consular office in their country of nationality.
TD visa application requirements differ by embassy/consulate, so family members need to check directly with the specific U.S. embassy/consulate on the requirements for the visa application if they have any questions.
Generally, all TD visa applications must include:
- DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application confirmation page;
- Visa interview appointment confirmation page;
- Proof of payment of visa fees;
- A passport-style photograph that meets DOS‘s nonimmigrant visa photo requirements;
- Passport valid for at least six months beyond the TN employee’s authorization;
- Evidence of relationship to the TN employee:
- Marriage certificate for spouse;
- Birth certificate for each child;
- Evidence of the TN employee’s status (copies of Form I-94, approval notice, offer/support letter, etc.); and
- Any other documents required by the specific U.S. embassy or consulate.
2. Apply for TD admission at a U.S. port of entry.
Next, dependents apply for admission in TD status at a U.S. port of entry. TD dependents may apply for entry at the same time as or after the TN employee, but they may not enter the U.S. before the TN employee’s initial entry. Each family member must bring the following items to the port of entry:
- Evidence of the TN employee’s status (copies of Form I-94, approval notice, offer/support letter, etc.);
- Valid TD entry visa in passport (N/A for Canadians);
- Passport valid for at least six months beyond the TN authorization end date (if a passport will expire before the TN end date, that person will be granted a shorter period of stay);
- UH offer letter or employment confirmation letter from the UH department to show financial support;
- Marriage certificate for spouse; and
- Birth certificate for each child.
Individuals are not guaranteed entry to the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will review all documents and ask the person about the purpose of the visit. These officers have the discretion to admit family members in TD status and may refer them to a more detailed secondary inspection.
When family members are admitted into the U.S. as TD dependents, their documents must be returned and an admission date stamp is placed in their passport with the notations “TD” and a date indicating the period they are authorized to stay in the U.S. CBP will issue an electronic Form I-94 for each person to access and print at the CBP’s I-94 website. The admission stamps with notations and the Form I-94 printouts are proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S.
Everyone needs to keep copies of their passport biodata/expiration pages, visas, admission stamps, and Form I-94 records permanently in case any of these documents are lost or stolen.
3. Send copies of entry documents to FSIS.
After the TD family members are admitted into the U.S., send FSIS the following documents for each dependent so we can update our records and check that each person was admitted properly at the port of entry:
- Copy of Form I-94 from CBP’s I-94 website;
- Copy of admission stamp with notations in passport;
- Copy of TD visa in passport (if any); and
- Copy of passport biodata page (if new/renewed)
Option B: TD in-country application
If family members are currently in the U.S. in a qualifying status, they can file Form I-539 and Form I-539A for each additional dependent (see the Form I-539 instructions) to apply for TD changes of status or extensions. If the TN’s spouse is applying for TD status, the spouse completes the Form I-539 with their own information and sign the form in Part 5. If only minor children are applying for TD status, the eldest child’s information is entered on the Form I-539 and each additional child completes a Form I-539A. Children 14 years of age or older must sign the Form I-539/I-539A. If the child is under 14, the TN employee signs the Form I-539/I-539A and provides their own information in Part 5.
The way in which the Form I-539/I-539A is filed will differ if dependents are filing it concurrently with or after a TN petition is filed.
|Filing Form I-539/I-539A concurrently with TN petition||Filing Form I-539/I-539A after TN petition is filed|
The entire Form I-539/I-539A application packet and filing fee must be submitted by the UH department to FSIS with the TN request. Attach the following documents for each dependent to the Form I-539/I-539A:
FSIS will review the Form I-539/I-539A for any obvious errors and mail the application with the TN petition.
Family members can mail the Form I-539/I-539A application packet to USCIS on their own, or file the Form I-539 online for each dependent. Attach the following documents for each dependent to the Form I-539/I-539A:
If dependents are in another country and will enter the U.S. in TD status, they do not need to file Form I-539/I-539A. Instead, they should follow the TD entry procedures.
Employment prohibited for TD dependents
TD dependents are not eligible for work authorization and employment. A TD dependent may change to another immigration status that permits employment if they qualify.
Study permitted for TD dependents
TD dependents may study in the U.S. on either a full or part time basis. The duration of their study depends on the TN employee’s period of stay.