TN visas are based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Pursuant to NAFTA, citizens of Canada and Mexico may work in the United States up to a period of three years in specifically designated professional positions in TN status.
There is no limit on the number of renewals of the TN visa.
Certain professionals from Canada or Mexico may obtain a TN work in the U.S. if:
- a worker is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- the profession is on the NAFTA list of eligible occupations;
- there is a job offer form a U.S. employer (self-employment is not permitted); and
- worker has qualifications/education for the profession.
Unlike Mexican citizens, Canadian citizens are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa. The TN category, a nonimmigrant classification, simply reflects this general exemption from the visa requirement. NAFTA governs which evidence is required to prove whether a Canadian or Mexican citizen is a professional in a qualifying profession.
If you are a Canadian citizen, then you are not required to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate.
You may establish eligibility for TN classification at the time you seek admission to the United States by presenting required documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. You must provide the following documentation to the CBP officer:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship;
- 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; and
- Credentials evaluation (if applicable), together with any applicable fees.
Alternatively, a prospective TN employer may choose to file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is outside the United States by submitting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS. Premium Processing Service is available.
If USCIS approves Form I-129, you, the prospective worker, may then apply to CBP for admission to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant by providing the following documentation to a CBP Officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship; and
- Approval Notice from USCIS for Form I-129.
In addition, when applying for admission, you should have in your possession a copy of the Form I-129, and all supporting documentation that was submitted to USCIS, to respond to questions about your eligibility. You should also be prepared to pay any applicable inspection fees at the time you seek admission. If a CBP officer finds you eligible for admission, you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant.
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. Once you are approved for a TN visa, you may apply for admission at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.
Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants: Spouses and Children:
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.