Trade NAFTA (TN)
TN STATUS FOR MEXICAN AND CANADIAN NATIONALS
NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement. It creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States. Individuals are permitted to enter the US for up to three years at a time, depending upon the job offer.
Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.
Complete information regarding the TN is available on the US State Department’s website including instructions on how to apply.
Professionals of Canada or Mexico may work in the U.S. under the following conditions:
- Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Profession is on the NAFTA list;
- Position in the U.S. requires a bachelor's degree or higher;
- Mexican or Canadian applicant is to work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer. Self employment is not permitted;
- Professional Canadian or Mexican citizen has the qualifications of the profession
The requirements for applying for citizens of Canada and Mexico are different.
- Spouses and Children
- Professional Job Series List
- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) TN Checklist
- Instructions for Hiring Departments Regarding TN Status
- USCIS Change of Address Requirement
- Tax Information
Place of Admission for TNs
Mexican and Canadian professionals can apply for admission to the United States in TN status at the following locations:
- A U.S. Class A port-of-entry
- A U.S. airport handling international traffic
- A U.S. pre-clearance/pre-flight station
Pre-clearance/pre-flight stations in Canada include:
- Toronto, Canada - Lester B. Pearson International Airport
- Montreal, Canada - Dorval Airport
- Ottawa, Canada - Ottawa International Airport
In September, 2014, CBP began "optimizing" initial Canadian NAFTA TN and L admissions at a number of ports of entry. Although an initial Candian NAFTA TN or L applicant can continue to go to any of port of entry that processes such admissions, the CBP website states that "we encourage you to go to one of the designated ports of entry where you will receive optimized processing." The CBP website also maintains a list of NAFTA-optimized ports of entry and pre-clearance stations. Please see www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/canada-mexico-travel/traveling-tn-or-l-1-visa-canada
The employer in the U.S. must provide to the applicant a Letter of Employment in the United States. The letter must indicate that the position in question in the U.S. requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity.
What are the Required Fees?
- Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee - Each applicant for a visitor visa must pay a nonrefundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee and possibly a visa issuance fee
- The hiring department does not need to pay any visa or application costs.
Additional Documentation or Qualifying Requirements
Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they are properly classifiable as NAFTA Professional for TN visa, under U.S. law by:
- Education Requirement- The applicant's employer must submit proof that the applicant meets the minimum education requirements or has the alternative credentials set forth in NAFTA agreement, chapter 16 appendix 1603.d.1. Evidence of professional qualifications may be in the form of degrees, certificates, diplomas, professional licenses, or membership in a professional organization. Degrees, diplomas, or certificates received from an educational institution outside the United States, Canada, or Mexico must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service specializing in evaluating foreign documentation.
- Work Experience Requirement - Document proving to the applicant's experience should be in the form of letters from former employers. If the applicant was self-employed, business records should be submitted proving that self-employment.
Is Licensure Required?
Requirements for NAFTA professional do not include licensure. Licensure to practice a given profession in the United States is a post-entry requirement subject to enforcement by the appropriate state or other sub-federal authority.
How Long Can I Stay?
The maximum period of admission into the U.S is three years. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants extensions of stay in time amounts of one year. There is no limit on the number of years a TN visa holder can stay in the United States. However, the TN visa status is not for permanent residence.
Extension of Stay
For Canadian or Mexican citizens admitted as a NAFTA Professional may seek an extension of stay, which may be granted up to three years:
- If the applicant is in the U.S., employer may file Form I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker with USCIS; or
- Applicant may apply at a port of entry using the same application and documentation procedures above as required for the initial entry.
How Do I Get More Information on the TN Visa?
Further information is available on the NAFTA www.uscis.gov/.