TN NAFTA Professionals
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationship for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant 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. You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status if:
- You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Your profession qualifies under the regulations;
- The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
- You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (not self-employment); and
- You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
Canadian citizens are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa.
Mexican citizens must get an an approved TN visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before entering the United States.
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 a CBP Officer finds you eligible for admission, you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant.
Alternatively, a prospective TN employer may choose to file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is outside the Unites States by submitting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS.
If USCIS approves Form I-129, you, the prospective worker, may the apply to CBP for admission the United States as a TN nonimmigrant by providing your proof of Canadian citizenship and the Approval Notice of Form I-129.
If you are a Mexican citizen, 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. If a CBP Officer finds you eligible for admission, the you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant.
How long can I stay in the United States with my TN Visa?
The initial period of stay is for 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, your employer may file Form I-129 on your behalf.
Alternatively, you may depart the United States before the date your status expires, and the, 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 TN.
Can I bring my family with me on my TN Visa?
Any accompanying spouse or children under the age of 21 may be eligible of TD nonimmigrant status, and must show the following evidence:
- Proof of Canadian and Mexican citizenship;
- Proof of a bona fide spousal (marriage certificate) or parent-child relationship (birth certificate) with the TN nonimmigrant;
- Photocopies of the TN nonimmigrant´s admission documents;
- Proof the TN nonimmigrant is maintaining his or her TN nonimmigrant status.
NOTE: Spouses and children are not permitted to work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study.
Spouses and children are granted TD status for no longer than the period of time granted to the principal TN nonimmigrant.
If a Canadian or Mexican TN nonimmigrant applies for an extension of stay in the United States at the end of his or her period of admission or authorization as a TN, any eligible TD family member may also apply to extend their status without the need to travel abroad.