TN Visas - NAFTA Professionals

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant visa classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. To be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, the employee must:

  • Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • Work in a profession that qualifies under the regulations;
  • Be coming to the United States to work in a position that requires a NAFTA professional;
  • Have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (self-employment is not permitted), and;
  • Hold the required qualifications for the profession.

 

Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa with a U.S. consulate or file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Instead, they can request admission as a TN nonimmigrant at a U.S. port of entry by providing:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship, and
  • Documentation from the prospective employer detailing the professional capacity in which the TN nonimmigrant will work in the United States, the purpose of the employment, the proposed length of stay, and the required educational qualifications.

If a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer is satisfied with the presented documentation, the Canadian citizen will be admitted to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant for up to three years.

 

Eligibility Criteria for Mexican Citizens

While a TN visa petition does not require filing a petition with USCIS, Mexican citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. The application for a TN visa must be made directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico by providing:

  • Proof of Mexican citizenship
  • Documentation from the prospective employer detailing the professional capacity in which the TN nonimmigrant will work in the United States, the purpose of the employment, the proposed length of stay, and the required educational qualifications.

Once the TN visa is approved and issued, the TN professional may apply for admission at a United States port-of-entry.  If a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer is satisfied with the documentation that is presented, the Mexican citizen will be admitted to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant for up to three years. 

 

Family Members of TN Visa Holders

The spouse and children under the age of 21 of a TN professional may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. Although dependents do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canad, they must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or parent-child relationship to the TN professional.  Spouses and children cannot work while in the United States in TD status, but they are permitted to study.

 

For more information about Goel & Anderson's TN visa services, please contact us to schedule an in-person or telephonic consultation.