Monthly Archives: November 2016

What Will Happen to Canadians and Mexicans with TN Visas if Trump Pulls the United States out of NAFTA

working_in_the_us_tnFor most of his campaign, Donald Trump lambasted and bemoaned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as one of the worst trade agreements in the history of the United States. Now that he has been elected, there is a legitimate fear that the United States may withdraw from the agreement, leaving only Canada and Mexico as parties.  NAFTA is a trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States.  The TN visa is a component of NAFTA – no NAFTA, no TN.  Trump has unilateral authority to withdraw from NAFTA – in fact, he is only required to give Canada and Mexico six (6) months notice.

The TN visa is a work visa category that allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to seek temporary employment in the United States if they are offered jobs that fall within a certain list of occupations. The TN visa is a great option for citizens of these countries – particularly in light of the fact that the H-1B visa has been subject to a lottery for the past several years.

So what happens if the United States pulls out of NAFTA? While it would be speculative, the most logical conclusion would be that TN visas would no longer be valid, since the underlying agreement no longer exists. This would be tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of Canadian and Mexican citizens working in the United States would find themselves suddenly without a valid work visa.

What should Canadians and Mexicans do if they are currently on a TN? Depending on the occupation, the most prudent suggestion would be to ask their employers to change them to another work visa or to start the green card process. Many TN occupations can also qualify for H-1B visas – which must be filed on April 1st of any given fiscal year. Other occupations may qualify for L-1 visas, E-2 visas, or O-1 visas.

If you have a TN visa and are worried about the United States pulling out of NAFTA, please feel free to contact us to discuss your options.

Immigrating to the United States After Trump Won The Election

The U.S. election stunned the world. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, I don’t think anybody expected Trump to win as resoundingly as he did. I’ve already gotten dozens of emails from former, current and prospective clients asking, “how does this affect my immigration options to the United States?” The short-term answer is “it won’t” and the long-term answer is “it depends.” U.S. immigration law is federal – many of the visa and green card categories were implemented with the cooperation of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Other categories, like DACA, were implemented through executive action by President Obama and could be repealed by a future President. TN visas (for Canadians and Mexicans) are a product of NAFTA – a trade agreement that Trump bemoaned throughout the entire campaign. So long term, there could be changes to some categories. DACA could be rescinded. TN visas could cease to exist if Trump pulls the United States out of NAFTA. However, my feeling is that you won’t see changes to many of the visa and green card applications that we currently process.

Will there be a wall? Will there be “mass deportation”? Will there be “extreme vetting” of new immigrants to the United States? These are broader questions that will undoubtedly be answered over the next four years. Obviously, the electoral majority embraced these proposals – as evidenced by the vote. But how realistic will it be to build a wall to keep out all Mexicans at the border? Or to deport 11 million undocumented aliens in the 1st month of office? Or to vet every immigrant application for “Western values” based on a test? Thankfully, it won’t be easy.

We’ll see what the future brings but to the thousands of clients I have gotten visas, green cards and citizenship for, you will not suddenly be told to leave the United States. To prospective clients reconsidering immigrating to the United States, America was and will continue to be the Land of Opportunity. The U.S. Government has a system of checks and balances – no one branch of government has authority over another.

So go ahead and marry your American fiancé. Go ahead and take that job offer in California. Go ahead and chase your dream of starting your own business here. We’ll be here if you need us.

USCIS Filing Fees Increase on December 23, 2016

Effective December 23, 2016, USCIS will increase many of its filing fees. Any applications received on or after this date will be subject to the new fees:

G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request — $65 ($20)
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) — $65 ($20)
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) — $65 ($20)
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card — $455 ($365)
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document — $445 ($330)
I-129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker — $460 ($325)
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) — $535 ($340)
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative — $535 ($420)
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document — $575 ($360)
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker — $700 ($580)
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the INA — $930 ($585)
I-192 Application for Advance permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant — $585/930 ($585)
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa — $585 ($585)
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal — $930 ($585)
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion — $675 ($630)
I-360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant — $435 ($405)
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status — $1,140 ($985)
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certan applicants under the age of 14 years) — $750 ($635)
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur — $3,675 ($1,500)
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status — $370 ($290)
I-600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition — $775 ($720)
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability — $930 ($585)
I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver — $630 ($585)
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) — $930 ($585)
I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act — $1,130 ($1,130)
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility — $715 ($200)
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision — $890 ($755)
I-698 Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (under Section 245A of the INA) — $1,670 ($1,020)
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence — $595 ($505)
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization — $410 ($380)
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country — $775 ($720)
I-800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A — $385 ($360)
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits — $600 ($435)
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition — $465 ($405)
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions — $3,750 ($3,750)
I-910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation — $785 ($615)
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program — $17,795 ($6,230)
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center — $3,035 ($0)
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Immigrant — $230 ($215)
N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention — $270 ($250)
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings — $700 ($650)
N-400 Application for Naturalization — $640 ($595)
N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes — $355 ($330)
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document — $555 ($345)
N-600/N-600K application for Certificate of Citizenship — $1,170 ($600/550)
USCIS Immigrant Fee — $220 ($165)