The TN nonimmigrant classification allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to enter the U.S. on a temporary status to engage in professional business activity. The status stems from the special trade and economic relationship held between the US, Mexico and Canada as outlined in the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This makes it easier for U.S. employers to employ Canadian and Mexican workers temporarily. TN employment must be in a profession listed in North American Free Trade Agreement's Appendix 1603.0.1, and the TN employee must possess the credentials required. There is no annual limit on TN-1 admissions from Canada or Mexico.

TN Qualifications
  • Must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • Must be engaged in a profession which qualifies under the regulations
  • Must have the qualifications necessary to be considered a member of the profession
  • The US position must require a NAFTA professional
  • Must have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a US employer. Self-employment does not count.
TN Period of Stay

The initial period of stay in the US under TN status is up to 3 years. To stay beyond the date noted on your I-94, you must seek an extension of stay. If you are in the US your employer may file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for you. There is no maximum stay limit (although the purpose of the stay must continue to be temporary).

TN Family Visas

Spouses and children under the age of 21 of TN visa holders may accompany or join the principal applicant under TD nonimmigrant status. Dependents do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canada, but they must contact the American Embassy or Consulate that serves their area for information on how to apply for a visa. Spouses and children cannot work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study.

Note: Eligibility Requirements and Procedures are different for Canadian Citizens and Mexican Citizens, so please visit the appropriate page.

For Canadian Citizens:

You are not required to apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy or to file a petition with USCIS in order to enter the United States. You may bring the required documentation directly to the U.S. Port of Entry to request TN admission.

Required Documentation:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship
  • A letter from your prospective employer detailing items such as the professional capacity in which you will work in the United States, the purpose of your employment, your length of stay, and your educational qualifications.
  • A credentials evaluation (if applicable)

A US Customs and Border Patrol agent will inspect your documents to determine if you are eligible to be admitted to the U.S. under TN status. Your entry status will be noted on your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.

When Does a Canadian NAFTA Professional Need a Visa?
A Canadian residing in another country with a non-Canadian spouse and child would need a visa to enable the spouse and child to be able to apply for a visa to accompany or join the NAFTA Professional, as a TD visa holder.

For Mexican Citizens:

You are required to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy, though you do not have to file a petition with the USCIS. You must obtain the visa before traveling to the U.S.

Required Documentation for Visa Interview:

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the U.S.
  • One (1) 2x2 photograph. A photograph is not required if you are applying in Mexico.
  • Letter of Employment which includes the following information:
    • The letter must indicate that the position in question in the U.S. requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity, consistent with the NAFTA Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Appendix 1603.d.1.
    • The applicant must present evidence of professional employment to satisfy the Consular Officer of the applicant's plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level. Part-time employment is permitted, but self-employment is not permitted. An employment letter or contract providing a detailed description of the business activities may be
      provided from the U.S. or foreign employer and should state the following:
      • Activity in which the applicant shall be engaged and purpose of entry;
      • Anticipated length of stay;
      • Educational qualifications or appropriate credentials demonstrating professional status;
      • Evidence of compliance with DHS regulations, and/or state laws; and
      • Arrangements for pay

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