TN Status and Form I-9 Compliance

USCIS Form I-9 is used by U.S. employers to verify the identity and work authorization of their employees. Form I-9 must be completed by all U.S. employers for each employee, both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. Form I-9 is completed by both the employer and the employee. Along with the completion of Form I-9 the employer must verify through the presentation of acceptable documents that the employee is authorized to work in the United States. Verification of the authenticity of the presented documents is not necessary, the employer need only examine the documents and determine if they appear to be genuine.

We are often asked by both employers and employees what documents are acceptable to prove valid work authorization under TN status. According to Form I-9 the following documents can be used to establish employment authorization:

  • LIST A: Documents That Establish Both Identity and Employment Authorization All documents must be unexpired. 1. U.S. Passport or Passport Card 2. Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551) 3. Foreign passport that contains a temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) 4. Employment Authorization Document (Card) that contains a photograph (Form I-766) 5. In the case of a nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer incident to status, a foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A bearing the same name as the passport and containing an endorsement of the alien’s nonimmigrant status, as long as the period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with any restrictions or limitations identified on the form 6. Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or Form I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSM or RMI
  • LIST B: Documents That Establish Identity All documents must be unexpired. For individuals 18 years of age or older: 1. Driver’s license or ID card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address 2. ID card issued by federal, state, or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address 3. School ID card with a photograph 4. Voter’s registration card 5. U.S. military card or draft record 6. Military dependent’s ID card 7. U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card 8. Native American tribal document 9. Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority for persons under age 18 who are unable to present a document listed above: 10. School record or report card 11. Clinic, doctor, or hospital record 12. Day-care or nursery school record
  • LIST C: Documents That Establish Employment Authorization All documents must be unexpired. 1. A Social Security Account Number card unless the card includes one of the following restrictions: (1) NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT (2) VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION (3) VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION NOTE: A copy (such as a metal or plastic reproduction) is not acceptable. 2. Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form FS-545) 3. Certification of Report of Birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form DS-1350) 4. Original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal 5. Native American tribal document 6. U.S. Citizen Identification Card (Form I-197) 7. Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179) 8. Employment authorization document issued by DHS

Employees working in the United States under TN status are issued Form I-94 upon approval of their status. In the past Form I-94 was physically stapled into the passport of the employee. Recently, the practice of issuing a physical I-94 card has changed. Employees on TN status can now obtain proof of their status by going to the CBP web-site.

The following is an image of Form I-94:




 Since Form I-94 is listed as a document under List A, it is sufficient to establish both Identity and Employment Authorization. For purposes of a Form I-94 issued in connection with TN status, the Form I-94 will list the valid start date, end date, and employer for which Employment Authorization has been granted. A TN is only valid for Employment Authorization for the employer and time period indicated. If the employer has changed or the validity period has expired, a new TN must be obtained. No additional documents are required as proof of work authorization under TN status. If you have further questions about TN status or Form I-9 compliance, contact us today to speak with Mr. Richards.

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