Back to Top skip to main content
GandS U.S. Immigration Logo
Jan 31, 2020

President Trump Signs USMCA, Implementation Still Pending

Joshua H. Rolf

On January 29, 2020, President Trump signed the implementing legislation for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”), which is set to replace the nearly 25-year-old NAFTA. Both houses of Congress approved the new deal by overwhelming, bi-partisan majorities, with the Senate ultimately voting 89-10 in favor of the USMCA. Democrats in both Chambers only assented to the Deal after negotiating additional safeguards with respect to contentious provisions regarding labor, environmental protections, and pharmaceutical issues. Other substantive changes include amending country of origin rules that dictate whether a good is tariff free. The Deal also includes a 16-year Sunset Clause, as well as the ability to extend the deal in 6 years.

Importantly, President’s Trump signature, alone, does not mean the USMCA is now in effect. For that to happen, Canada must first pass its own implementing legislation – a process it commenced earlier this week following the U.S. Senate’s vote two weeks ago. Thereafter, the three countries must confirm they have met certain obligations on which USCMA’s full implementation remain contingent. Confirming these obligations have been met opens another opportunity for delays, as each countries’ trade representatives argue over whether their counterparts have, in fact, met these conditions. Once confirmed, there will be an additional 60-day period before USMCA goes live. Optimistically, this process will conclude this summer; however, it could drag on. In the meantime, NAFTA will continue to govern.

However, as we covered upon initial publication, even after it’s been implemented the USMCA’s immigration provisions with respect to TN Professionals will remain largely untouched, to the point that they will continue to keep the same “TN” nomenclature under the new deal. Though we are disappointed that the Professions List will remain trapped in the early 1990s, this consistency does offer predictability so long as adjudicators continue reviewing submissions as per existing guidance.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your existing TN status, a future TN Border/Consular Application or USCIS Petition, or anything else having to do with TN Visas or the USMCA’s impact on worker mobility, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office.

Related Team

Joshua H. Rolf

Joshua H. Rolf

(215) 395-8959

(215) 395-8959

email Joshua

Philadelphia (US Headquarters)

Full Biography

Joshua H. Rolf

Recent Blogs

Mar 01, 2021

USCIS Extends Flexibilities to F-1 Students Filing for OPT

On February 26, 2021 USCIS announced flexibilities for certain F-1 students in the filing of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD) for Optional Practical Training (OPT). This is due to the substantial delays in issuing receipt notices at certain USCIS lockboxes where these applications are filed. These flexibilities only apply to I-765 forms received by USCIS on or after October 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 25, 2021

Biden Administration Lifts Suspension of Immigrant Visa Issuance

On February 24, 2021, the Biden Administration issued a Presidential Proclamation that reversed President Trump’s EO that, for more than 10 months, has prevented many foreign nationals physically outside the United States from obtaining an Immigrant Visa which, upon issuance and admission to the United States, would automatically convert the individual to a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”). Passed under the guise of protecting the U.S. workforce since LPRs are permitted to accept any and all forms of employment, in effect, the ban served to keep close family members of U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents, diversity visa lottery winners, key employees, and others from obtaining the Immigrant Visa that would permit them to assume LPR status. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 24, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: USCIS Extends Premium Processing for E-3 Australian Specialty Worker Petitions

On February 24, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would immediately provide the option of Premium Processing for petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting a change or extension of status to E-3 classification, which applies only to Australian nationals coming to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation. The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee of $2500 to ensure a government response within fifteen days. Until now, this service was not available for the E-3 category. Learn more in this blog.