The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico, one of which allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States on a temporary basis in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers. Please note that: Permanent Residents of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for TN visas to work as NAFTA professionals. There is no U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) limit on the number of workers granted TN status each year.
The TN visa category requires that the applicant:
- Is a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
- Enters the U.S. on a temporary basis.
- Possesses the minimum qualifications of one of the professions specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty.
The Appendix also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation (designated professional occupations: http://www.nafsa.org/_/file/_/amresource/8cfr2146.htm). The most common minimum requirement is a Baccalaureate degree and licensure, if required for the profession. A foreign national must have licensure before he or she can obtain TN status.
NOTE: If a Canadian or Mexican citizen obtained his or her credentials in a country other than Canada, Mexico, or the U.S., USCIS may request that the alien obtain an equivalency evaluation from a reliable credential evaluation service.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
- The initial period of stay is up to 3 years.
- If you wish to remain in the United States beyond your initial period of stay without first departing from the United States, you must seek an extension of stay. If you are in the United States, ISSS may file Form I-129 on your behalf.
- Alternatively, you may depart from the United States before the date your status expires, and then, once abroad, you may apply at a CBP-designated U.S. port of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station using the same application and documentation procedures required at the time of your initial application for admission as a TN nonimmigrant.
Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants
Any accompanying or “following to join” spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. Spouses and children are:
- Not permitted to work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study.
- Granted TD status for no longer than the period of time granted to the principal TN nonimmigrant.
Process for Departments to Hire a Canadian or Mexican Citizen
Please contact the ISSS office at 940-565-2195 for information. Each foreign national’s situation is different and specific documents will be required in order for the foreign national to successfully enter the U.S. in TN status.