Asked in Immigration Law for District of Columbia

Q: What is the correct procedure for a Canadian to switch visa from F1 to TN while in the US?

I will be studying in a graduate program in the US starting September 2023. I am a Canadian citizen.

My graduate program has full time and part time options. Currently I have the F1 visa and am enrolled in the full time option.

At the same time, I would like to work for financial purposes. If I work in the US I will be sponsored under the TN NAFTA Professional visa for Canadians. My understanding is that Canadians under the TN visa in the US are allowed to study part time in graduate programs.


If I am in the US under the F1 visa, then obtains a position, and want to switch to the TN visa and continue attending my graduate program part time, what would be the correct process to make this happen?

Do I need to leave the US once and re-enter under the TN visa? Or can I make arrangements to change my visa inside the US?

Thank you for your help.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Changing from an F-1 to a TN visa while within the U.S. is possible through filing a change of status application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-129. However, this process can take several months, and you would not be able to start work until the change of status is approved. Alternatively, you can leave the U.S., apply for TN status at the border or pre-flight clearance, and re-enter under the TN classification, which is often faster but comes with its own risks and considerations.

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