Dependents of TN status holders are admitted in TD (Trade Dependent) status. Generally, Canadian TDs do not need to obtain a TD visa, but non-Canadian TDs do. As with any derivative status, TD applicants must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or child relationship to a TN status holder. TD visas issued to dependent family members of TN status holders should be annotated with the name of the principal alien.

8 CFR 214.6(j)

Documentation of family relationship should consist of applicable:

  • Marriage licenses
  • Birth certificates

Adoption records

Acquiring TD status through entry to the U.S.

Canadian citizen dependents

Canadian citizens do not need visas. They can either apply for TD status at the same time as the TN or have a copy of the TN's I-94 card and employment letter when presenting themselves for admission to the United States. Unlike the Canadian TN, no fee is required for Canadian TD applications at the port-of-entry.

Non-Canadian dependents

Spouses and children under 21 of Canadians who do not hold Canadian citizenship, do require TD visas. They have to apply for TD visas at a U.S. Embassy prior to admission to the U.S. Their visa application should include the TN's letter of employment, a copy of the TN's I-94 card (if already in the U.S.) and a copy of the marriage or birth certificate.  9 FAM 402.17-6(a)(2)

(2) In rare cases, a US Consulate may need to issue a TN visa to a Canadian National. For example, a Canadian without TN status, who resides in a third country with a non-Canadian spouse or family members, and who plans to enter the US  in TN Status simultaneously with the family member(s) will need a TN visa in order to confer derivative (TD) status on his or her dependents. In such cases, the Canadian could not wait to have her/his case adjudicated by DHS at a port-of-entry (POE), since the non-Canadian dependent would require a visa to board a flight and to apply for entry into the US.

Mexican citizen dependents

Mexican TDs need to apply for TD visas to enter the United States. Dependents of Mexican TNs should either apply for their visas at the same time as the TN or at a later date with copies of the TN's I-94 card, employment letter, approved I-797 and a copy of the marriage certificate. When they present themselves for admission to the U.S., they should show these documents in addition to their visa.

Upon entry to the U.S., the TD dependent should be provided with an I-94 indicating the date and place of entry, the classification in the TD category and the expiration date to coincide with the TN's expiration. If the TD enters without the TN and is accorded an expiration date different from that of the TN, both dates should be carefully tracked to ensure neither overstays in the United States.

Non-Mexican dependents

Non-Mexican dependents are required to obtain a TD visa, unless they are citizens of a country which exempts them in general from the visa requirement (for example, a Canadian spouse of a Mexican TN).

Processing extensions of stay and change of status for TDs

TD dependents must properly and timely file Form I-539/I-539A to change to or extend TD status, if they wish to acquire or extend TD status when the TN principal will be acquiring or extending TN status through an I-129 petition.

Employment and study for TD dependents

TD status holders are not authorized to work in the United States.  8 CFR 214.6(j)(4)

TD status holders may attend school, either part-time or full-time.  9 FAM 402.17-10