This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Options for TD Visa Holders Turning 21

Question from Liz, Options for TD Visa Holders Turning 21

Answer from AI:

When you’re in the United States on a TD (Trade NAFTA Dependent) visa through a parent, turning 21 can be a significant milestone. This is because your eligibility to remain in the U.S. under this status typically ends when you reach this age. Understanding your options ahead of time is crucial to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any disruptions in your studies or residency in the U.S. Here’s a general overview of the steps you might consider.

Understanding Your Current Status

First, it’s important to understand what a TD visa is. The TD visa is issued to the dependents of TN visa holders, who are professionals from Canada and Mexico allowed to work in the U.S. under the terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA, formerly NAFTA). As a dependent, your status is directly tied to the principal TN visa holder’s status (in this case, your father).

Options After Turning 21

Upon turning 21, you will no longer qualify as a dependent under your parent’s TN status. However, there are several paths you might explore to continue your studies and stay in the U.S.:

  1. Change of Status to F-1 Student Visa: One of the most common options is to apply for a change of status to an F-1 student visa. This visa is specifically designed for international students attending an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or language training program in the U.S. You would need to be accepted by a school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) before you can apply.
  2. Seek Employment and H-1B Visa Sponsorship: If you have completed your studies or are about to graduate, and you have a job offer from a U.S. employer, you might be eligible for an H-1B visa. This visa allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. However, there is an annual cap on the number of H-1B visas issued, so it’s important to plan ahead.
  3. Explore Other Visa Categories: Depending on your specific situation, there may be other visa categories that are applicable to you. For example, if you have extraordinary ability in certain fields, you might qualify for an O-1 visa. If you are engaged to a U.S. citizen, a K-1 visa might be an option. It’s important to research all possible visa categories to find the best fit for your circumstances.

Important Considerations

  • Timing is Crucial: It’s important to start exploring your options well before you turn 21. Changing visa status or applying for a new visa can be a time-consuming process, and you want to avoid any gap in your legal status.
  • Consult with an Immigration Attorney: Immigration law can be complex and challenging to navigate on your own. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can provide you with personalized advice and guidance based on your specific situation.
  • Maintain Your Current Status: Until you successfully change your status or obtain a new visa, ensure you maintain your current TD status by adhering to all its requirements. Failure to maintain your status can lead to complications or even removal proceedings.

Additional Resources

For more detailed information on changing your status or applying for a new visa, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website is a valuable resource. Additionally, the Study in the States website provides information specifically for international students, including those looking to change to an F-1 student visa.

Remember, while this guide provides a general overview, immigration laws and regulations are subject to change. It’s always best to consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your individual circumstances.

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