USCIS proposes three year TN Visa for Canadian or Mexican professionals

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), which will increase the maximum period of initial admission for a Trade-NAFTA (TN) Visa holder from Canada or Mexico from one year to three years and also increase the extension of stay period to three years from the initial one year, bringing it to par with H1-B tenure. The changes will apply to dependents of TN visa holders as well.
However, unlike H1-B, TN non-immigrants are not limited to a six year period and can seek multiple readmissions or extensions, as long as they can maintain their status through employment.
TN Visa is available to Canadian and Mexican citizens seeking temporary entry to the United States as professionals under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). To be eligible for this status, Canadian and Mexican citizens need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or appropriate professional credentials, and work in the professions listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA and under DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.6(c). Eligible TN professions include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, attorneys, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
Currently TN workers have to apply for readmission or extension of stay each year. Once implemented, the NPRM will reduce cost and administrative burdens on USCIS as well as the TN holder to a large degree. This will also attract U.S. employers towards the TN visa as a viable substitute for H-1Bs.