If you are already within the United States in lawful immigration status you can avoid processing for TN-1 status at a port of entry by submitting your application through a USCIS service center. This is done by your employer through filing Form I-129 with the designated USCIS service center.
Filing for a change of status through a service center has its advantages and disadvantages. One major advantage is that there is no in person interview at a port of entry. This option is often considered by those who want to avoid being interviewed by an officer upon admission into the United States, want to avoid traveling back to Canada, or who want to avoid questions about their non-immigrant intent and ties to their home country. Some disadvantages include USCIS processing fees, long processing times (around 2 months) and having to wait to start employment until the approval notice arrives. Lengthy processing can be dealt with by requesting premium processing. Premium processing guarantees a decision within 15 days.
There are clearly advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered when filing for a change of status with a service center . If you are currently within the United States and you qualify for TN-1 status it is important to carefully consider your options before determining whether processing at a USCIS service center or port of entry is best for your situation. Each situation is unique and all factors must be weighed before making your decision. If you require assistance to obtain TN-1 status, we can help.