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Replaced Damaged CAD Passport. Lose TN Status?

Discussion in 'TN Status' started by CanadianDriftwood, May 18, 2017.

  1. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member


    I am a Canadian citizen with about 1.5 years left on my TN Visa. I recently Travelled to New Zealand and my passport was damaged by the rain. I applied for my passport today and I will receive it tomorrow. I had to expedite the process since I am travelling to the US on Tuesday for a conference, and the agent told me that my TN is no longer valid. I shouldn't have any problems with my travel next week since I'm simply attending an internal conference.

    Do I have to re-apply for a TN visa and start from scratch? I would have thought that the status would be applied to my name, and not the document. I do not have any copies of my TN visa or any other documentation around it.

    Any help is appreciated!

    Richard Mackay
  2. nelsona

    nelsona Registered Users (C)

    Don't let Canadian passport agents tell you what your status in other countries might be.

    First, you do not have a TN "Visa". This would be a document issued by a US Consulate and attached into your passport. At most you have a border stamp, which is unaffected by changing your passport. A true visa *might* be invalid when your passport is reissued, but that depends on the other countries rules, not passport Canada, and doesn't apply in your case anyways.

    The KEY document you have (and is your only proof of valid TN status) is an I-94 issued when you crossed into US on TN, separate from your passport, but kept with it, which you would have removed from your passport when handing to the agent. Simply re-insert this into your passport when you cross.

    Second, if you are going to the firm that sponsored your TN , then you need to enter in TN status. You cannot enter in B2 for a meeting if you are employed by this firm. Once you have a TN for a firm, you cannot then say that sometimes you are entering on TN or sometimes on B2 depending on your schedule that day. It is still considered part of your TN job, and requires that you enter on TN.

    So, you need to get a copy of your old I-94 that was issued when you got TN, and bring your old damaged passport, and CBP will simply re-stamp your passport for record-keeping purposes and issue you a new I-94 (which is proof of your TN status -- you've never had a visa). The reason to issue a new I-94 is not because your passport was damaged, but because you left North America. The I-94 reissue would have occurred anyways.

    The passport renewal, for whatever reason, was really a non-event in terms of US. the agent had no business advising you on that.
  3. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member

    Thanks Nelsona,

    Unfortunately I'm a bit hazy on which documents I received when I first got TN status. I don't think I ever had a separate physical document, and I don't remember having a document (I-94) inside my passport. I never had any trouble crossing the border and the customs agents would always write something on the stamp related to TN status so I assumed it was in the system and associated with my name and not a physical document (passport, I-94, or otherwise)

    The agent took my passport and I no longer have it. This sounds very... very bad...

    Sorry for my ignorance, I'm quite young and I don't have too much experience with this.

  4. theBasher

    theBasher New Member

    From the cbp website:

    Effective April 26, 2013, DHS began automating the admission process. An alien lawfully admitted or paroled into the U.S. is no longer required to be in possession of a preprinted Form I94. A record of admission printed from the CBP website constitutes a lawful record of admission. See 8 CFR § 1.4(d).

    If an employer, local, state or federal agency requests admission information, present your admission (I94) number along with any additional required documents requested by that employer or agency.

    Jsut because you lost your i-94 doesn't mean you lose your status. If you look online, you'll see the expiry, admission number, and other details listed. Print that badboy off and you're good.

    Edit: You may have to get the i-94 updated to match your new passport number as well (I'm not entirely sure but it would make sense). If so, you can get i-94 corrections done at the border. Please report back regarding this so I know for sure
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  5. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member

    Thanks! I definitely will report back. I'm glad a forum like this exists.

    They require my passport number on the CBP website, which I will receive tomorrow. I will try using my old passport number when I get home today.

    Richard Mackay
  6. nelsona

    nelsona Registered Users (C)

    my post was not meant to alarm you, but rather educate you (and dispel what the passport agent said). The I-94 is easily obtained as basher pointed out. and while the regs have changed, the border is still issuing cardboard I-94s in many cases, and you should make it a habit of having one available to you (after all, your employer needs this to prove that HE is not in violation of the law, too).

    As I also pointed out, regardless of the passport change, you will be issued a new I-94 on the next entry, since you left North America, so that one will inevitably have your new passport information on it -- there will not be any "corrections" needed to be made.

    And adopt the following good practices regardless of your future immigration and travel plans:
    1. ALWAYS make a color copy of at least the picture page of your passport for safe-keeping.
    2. ALWAYS make a copy (electronic or otherwise) of any document that is issued to you by an immigration agency for work authorization purposes.
    3. ALWAYS tick the "return my old passport" box when you get a new one.
  7. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member

    Ahh I see. Do I even have to print off the I-94 from the CBP website in that case? Or will they have all the information to issue a new one when I walk up to the customs desk? The CBP website can't seem to find me when I enter my details with my old passport number. I'll have to check tomorrow when the new passport arrives.

    Unfortunately, I did not check the "return my old passport" box since I didn't think this affected my TN status. I didn't scan any of the documentation either (urrrg!). At the very least, I do have a photo of my old passport picture page.

  8. nelsona

    nelsona Registered Users (C)

    Lesson learned, I hope.

    Well, obviously CBP will not have any information on you associated with your brand new passport. You should however be able to find any I-94s that were issued under the old passport, including the one that was provided when you initially got your TN -- the one you had to show to your employer for their I-9 form proving you can work.

    The replacement of your passport doesn't "affect" your TN. But not having any I-94 when you go to the border along with not having your old passport will make their job (and thus your crossing) more difficult. A copy of the original passport page with all this "crucial" information would have gone a long way.

    In any event, under no circumstances should you attempt to cross without verifying and obtaining an I-94 in TN status, thinking that "I'm not going for TN-related activity". do not enter like a Cdn on B2.

    And avoid the misconception that if you don't get a paper I-94 at the border (although I believe that borders are sill issuing cardboard I-94 for TN), that you don't need a copy. Unlike those who enter as tourists etc., the I-94 issued when you enter in TN is actually your ONLY work authorization document. You need it and your firm needs it.
  9. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member

    Yep, definitely for sure!

    I was able to log into I-94 website, but it looks like I can only see my most recent I-94 which is my B2 visitor visa to New Zealand (passed through US). I hope it's okay that i can't see the TN I-94. I can also see my arrival and departure history, but there's no I-94 information.

    I understand your point about not attempting to cross on a B1/B2, so I'll attempt to cross as TN.

  10. nelsona

    nelsona Registered Users (C)

    Stop using the word "visa". Cdns get "status" when you enter US. A Visa is a state department issued permission slip.

    And you last entry to go to NZ should have been on "C" transit status, or B2 tourist. There is no such status as B1/B2. That is a visa that is granted for upto 10 years.. You don't have that.
  11. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member

    Ahh sorry!

    Yes, my visit to New Zealand was with B2 status.

    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  12. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member


    I wanted to give people an update on what happened if they're interested!

    I went to the border incredibly early (around 4:00 AM for a 8:15 AM flight). I filled out the TN declaration(?) card and went to an agent. The customs officer asked me about my I-94. I told him it was a new passport and that I needed a new one issued so he sent me into secondary inspection.

    I told the guy at the desk that I needed a new I-94 and he asked if I'd printed my last I-94 with TN status from the website. I told him my last one issued was with B2 status since I was in transit to New Zealand for vacation, and I can only download my *most recent* I-94. He spent a little time behind the desk and confirmed somewhere in the system that I have TN status. He gave me a new stamp and told me that I should print out my I-94 next time so they can stamp my passport without having to send me into secondary. The whole process took about half an hour since I was the only person at customs.

    They TN status is definitely attached to my digital identity and they have access to all records of my border crossings. I probably didn't need to worry about this nearly as much. I also learned that they only issue the I-94 cardboard at land border crossings which is why all my coworkers have one since they applied for TN status at the Buffalo crossing.

    Hope this is helpful. I definitely could have explained my situation better to the customs agent, but it all worked out in the end.

  13. nelsona

    nelsona Registered Users (C)

    Just as aexpected. Only use TN as your entry status from now until you lose that job.
  14. CanadianDriftwood

    CanadianDriftwood New Member

    Can do. Thanks for all the help!


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