TN Visa

TN Nonimmigrants: Employing Canadian and Mexican Nationals Under NAFTA

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The TN Visas category was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created special economic and trade relationships for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Canadians and Mexicans may be eligible to work in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant NAFTA professional under the following conditions:

  • The applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • The prospective job offer is a profession on the NAFTA list;
  • The applicant will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for a U.S. employer (self-employment is not permitted); and
  • The applicant has the required NAFTA qualifications, meeting the specific education and/or experience requirements of the profession.

With some exceptions, each profession requires the applicant to possess a Bachelor’s degree as an entry-level requirement. In some professions, an alternative to a Bachelor’s degree is listed, such as related experience or special licensing.

For a complete list of professions and minimum requirements under NAFTA, see Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA Chapter 16.

Among the list of designated TN professions are: Accountants, Computer Systems Analysts, Mathematicians, Economists, Management Consultants, Registered Nurses, Engineers, Lawyers, Research Assistants, Graphic Designer, Librarians, Hotel Managers, and more.

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Petition Process

A Canadian citizen may apply for TN status directly at a Class A port of entry to the U.S. Alternatively, applicants may submit a petition through the mail with USCIS; upon approval, the applicant may then enter the U.S. in TN status. A Mexican citizen may apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. Consulate in Mexico.

All petitions must include, at a minimum:

  • A detailed statement from the U.S. employer with a full description of the proffered position and nature of the beneficiary’s proposed duties, the anticipated length of stay in the U.S., and remuneration;
  • Evidence that the beneficiary meets the required education, licensure requirements, and/or alternative credentials for the NAFTA position; and
  • Evidence of Canadian or Mexican citizenship.

Duration

A foreign national in TN status may be admitted to the U.S. for an initial period of stay not to exceed three years. TN professionals can receive extensions of stay for up to a three-year period. There is currently no annual limit on the number of TN admissions/extensions that may be granted. However, as TN status is a nonimmigrant category, the purpose of the foreign national’s stay in the U.S. must continue to be demonstrably temporary throughout the duration of status.

Dependents

Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of TN professionals may obtain TD status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may attend school as students in the U.S., but they may not be employed while in TD status.

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