When it comes to U.S. visas, two popular options are the H-1B visa and the TN visa. Both visas are for temporary workers, and although both provide work authorization in the US, they differ significantly in terms of processing time, requirements, and who is eligible to apply for them.
The H-1B visa can have much longer processing time than the TN visa. If it is your first H-1B with a for-profit sponsor, you will generally have to wait for the lottery cycle and the processing time can take seven months or longer if the case is not filed under premium processing. The TN visa, on the other hand, is much faster. For Canadian citizens, they can apply for the visa at the airport several hours before their flight, or at an embassy/consulate. For Mexican citizens, they can apply for the visa at an embassy or consulate.
To qualify for an H-1B visa, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in their field of work. The TN visa generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree, but can have less stringent requirements depending on the position. Some positions only require the applicants to have a job offer from a qualifying organization and evidence of their professional qualifications.
The H-1B visa is open to any applicant with the right skills, qualifications, and experience. However, the TN visa is only available to Canadian and Mexican citizens.
Another main difference between an H-1B visa and a TN visa is the length of stay they provide. An H-1B visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended to a total of 6 years, unless the holder has an I-140 approved. A TN visa allows for up to 3 years of stay, which can be extended indefinitely so long as there is a valid job offer and the visa holder does not have immigrant intent.
The process of applying for either an H-1B or TN visa also differs. An H-1B visa requires approval from the United States Department of Labor, and then an employer must submit a petition for the non-immigrant worker status to USCIS. The TN visa is a simpler process where you can apply directly at a consulate/embassy abroad, or in the airport. If the individual is inside the U.S., then the petition can be filed directly with USCIS.
In conclusion, both the H-1B visa and the TN visa offer work authorization in the U.S. However, they differ significantly in terms of processing time, requirements, and who is eligible to apply for them. It is important to consider these differences before deciding which visa is right for you.
If you have questions relating to an H-1B or TN visa, we would be happy to review your case, guide you through the necessary legal procedures, and answer any questions you have about your application.