The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships 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 (but not self-employment – see documentation required below)
- You have the qualifications of the profession
Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Citizens
If you are a Canadian citizen, then you 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). You can request admission as a TN nonimmigrant at a U.S. port of entry, and you must provide the following documentation:
- 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, your educational qualifications
- Credentials evaluation (if applicable)
If you are eligible following inspection by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer, then you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant. Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record, will be evidence of your admission.
Eligibility Criteria for Mexican Citizens
If you are a Mexican citizen, then you are not required to file a petition with USCIS. However, 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. See the Department of State link to the right “Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Worker.”
Once you are approved for a TN visa you may apply for admission at a United States port-of-entry. If you are eligible following inspection by a CBP Officer, then you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant. Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record, will be evidence of your admission.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
Initial Period of Stay
|Up to 3 years|
If you wish to stay beyond the time indicated on Form I-94, you must seek an extension of stay. If you are in the United States, your employer may file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with USCIS. For more information see the “Extend Your Stay” link to the right.
Note: You may apply at a port of entry using the same application and documentation procedures required at the time of your initial entry.
Family of TN Visa Holders
Any accompanying or following to join spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. They must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or parent-child relationship to you. Dependents do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canada, but they must contact the American embassy or consulate that serves their area for information on how to apply for a visa. Spouses and children cannot work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study.
Canadian Citizen’s Dependents
Any spouse and children of a Canadian citizen do not need visas, but they must provide the following documentation at the port of entry:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship
- Proof of relationship to the TN nonimmigrant, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate
- Photocopies of the TN nonimmigrant’s entry documents
Mexican Citizen’s Dependents
Any spouse and children of a Mexican citizen must apply for the TD nonimmigrant status at an American embassy or consulate.
Dependents Following to Join
If any spouse and children are following to join the TN nonimmigrant, then they must show a valid Form I-94 as proof that the TN nonimmigrant is maintaining his or her TN nonimmigrant status.