H-1b vs. TN
the TN and H-1B visas appear to share similar elements, a closer
examination reveals advantages and disadvantages to both visas. We
have compiled a list of the pros and cons of these two so that those
interested in applying for either visa can select the better visa
for his or her immigration situation.
The foreign national must be a citizen from Canada or
can be a citizen of any country.
can be applied for at the U.S. border or a U.S. airport, prior
approval from the INS is not necessary.
a petition must first be submitted to one of four INS services
center having jurisdiction over the place of employment. After the INS
service center processes it, the approval notice is sent to the
individual who can present it at a U.S. port of entry.
fees: As of 3/6/00, (subject to change)
$50.00, payable at the port of entry
Total of $610.00: $1110.00 for the INS filing fee, $100.00
scholarship fee (waivable if the petitioning organization or company
The applicant must fit within a specific group of professional
occupations listed in NAFTA (e.g. lawyers, biologists, accountants,
interior designers). In almost all cases, a degree or license is
Has more flexibility by requiring that the position be a
“specialty occupation”. A specialty occupation has been defined
as one that “requires theoretical and practical application of a
body of highly specialized knowledge”. A degree or a combination
of degree and experience is acceptable.
Extremely quick. With the proper documents, can be adjudicated at
the border or at the airport before a free trade officer.
Advantageous for companies with urgent need for employee.
Painfully slow. This is because the application requires gathering
information for the prevailing wage, obtaining certification for the
labor condition application, and then waiting for the INS service center to process.
of time granted:
Only one year. Thereafter the TN must be renewed or the applicant
must return to the border for a new TN which can be inconvenient.
However, the TN theoretically can be renewed/applied for
Good for up to six years in three year increments. Thereafter, the
applicant must change to a different status or return home for at
least one year.
on green card plans:
Since the TN requires that the foreign national have temporary nonimmigrant
intent, the TN cannot apply for permanent residency while holding TN
status. This would be a conflict of intent.
Permits dual intent so
that the H-1B holder could apply for a green card (intending to
become a permanent resident) while maintaining H-1B nonimmigrant
There are no numerical limits on the number of TN visas that are
issued each year.
H-1B: Each year, a specific number of H-1B visas are available. View our
page on H-1B visas for more information on the exact number
available. This limit quickly becomes reached during the fiscal year so
that applicants and their employers must wait several months before
receiving approvals for this visa category.