TN – NAFTA Professionals

TN visas were created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and are available to certain Canadian and Mexican professionals to work in the United States. TN status allows Canadian and Mexican citizens the opportunity to work in the United States under a somewhat limited set of occupations specifically enumerated in the TN supporting documentation. If a person qualifies as a member of a TN – approved occupation, he or she may obtain an initial TN visa for up to three years and may receive unlimited extensions. The TN applicant must show that he or she intends to return to his or her home country at the end of TN status.

Frequently Asked Questions about TN Visas

What are the Requirements for a TN Visa?

  • The applicant must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • The position in the U.S. involves a NAFTA-approved professional
  • The applicant will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for a U.S., Mexican, or Canadian employer (self-employment is not permitted)
  • The applicant has the qualifications for the profession
  • The applicant can demonstrate  that their stay is temporary

How Long is Someone Allowed to Stay in the U.S.?

The maximum period of admission into the U.S. is three years and extensions of stay can be granted in three-year increments. Spouses and children of TN visa holders are issued TD visas.  TD visa holders may not work, but are  allowed to attend school.

What are the Specific Requirements for a Canadian citizen?

Canadian citizens do not need to obtain a visa stamp as a NAFTA professional, rather they may simply apply for TN status at a port of entry.

Qualifying Canadians include:

  • Those with a bachelor’s degree and a job offer from a U.S. company
  • Those in specialized occupations, such as scientists, engineers, programmers, research assistants, management consultants, social workers and accountants
  • Canadian medical and allied  personnel including dentists, dietitians, laboratory technologists,  nutritionists,pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and veterinarians

What are the Specific Requirements for a Mexican citizen?

Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican citizens cannot apply for a TN visa at a  port of entry. They must apply for their TN visa at a U.S. embassy and undergo an interview. Mexican citizens may apply at consular sections around the world  for a TN visa. An interview at the embassy consular section is required for most  visa applicants. Interviews are by appointment only, and the waiting time for an interview appointment for most applicants is a few weeks or less, but for some embassy consular sections it can be considerably longer. You can check visa wait times for interview appointments on the U.S. Department of State website.

How Long is a TN Visa Valid?

A TN visa holder is admitted for up to three years. TN visas may be renewed indefinitely in three-year increments.

Can the Visa Holder Bring Dependents into the U.S. on a TN Visa?

Yes, a spouse and unmarried, minor children are entitled to enter the U.S. on derivative TD status.

What are the Qualifying Professions?

A complete list of the qualifying professions can be found through the Department of State website.

Contact us for more information on TN Visas, and guidance through what can be a complex process.