TN NAFTA Professionals

TN (Canadian and Mexican Professionals) Visa

What is the TN visa?

The TN visa is a non-immigrant visa available to qualified nationals of Mexico and Canada who are seeking to enter the United States to conduct business at a professional level. The TN visa is the product of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

What are the requirements for a TN visa?

  • You must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
  • Your profession must qualify under the regulations. Qualifying professions include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
  • The position in the U.S. must require a NAFTA professional.
  • You must have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer.
  • You must have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.

What strategic considerations should I keep in mind?

  • Canadian citizens, but not Mexican citizens, are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa.
  • If you are a Canadian citizen, then you are not required to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate. Instead, you may show that you’re eligible for a TN visa when you seek admission to the United States by presenting the required documents to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.
  • If you are a Mexican citizen, then you are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. You should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.
  • The TN visa allows you an initial period of stay in the U.S. of up to three years. Beyond that period, you must seek an extension.
  • Any accompanying or “following to join” spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status, but spouses and children are not allowed to work in the U.S. They may study in the U.S., however.
  • Spouses and children are granted TD status for no longer than the period of time granted to the principal TN nonimmigrant.

The TN category was created as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which develops a special economic and trade relations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The TN beneficiaries must be citizens of Canada and Mexico. A person with a TN visa is allowed to work in the US on a temporary basis up to three years. Permanent residents, including Canadian residents, however, are not qualified to apply as a NAFTA professional worker.

The TN professional may bring their derivative beneficiaries (spouse and children below 21). The visa for the dependents of a TN professional is TD visa. The TN professional must not have an immigrant intention.

How do I qualify for this visa?

In order to qualify for a TN visa, the applicant must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico who is engaged in a profession on the NAFTA list; the position in the US requires a NAFTA professional; the Mexican or Canadian applicant is to work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for a US employer; and has the requisite qualifications for the position.