TN Visa

TN Visa

  1. Overview
  2. TN Eligibility Criteria
  3. Applying for TN Visa
  4. Required Documentation
  5. Duration of Status
  6. Family Members of TN
  7. What are the NAFTA Professional Jobs?


1. Overview

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships between the United States (U.S.), Canada and Mexico. The TN non-immigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in professional business activities. Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.

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


2. TN Eligibility Criteria

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). You can, however, request admission as a TN nonimmigrant at a U.S. port of entry. At the port of entry 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; and
  • 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 non-immigrant.

Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN non-immigrant. You should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.

Once 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 non-immigrant.


3. Applying for TN Visa

The consular officer will determine whether NAFTA applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a NAFTA Professional Worker (TN) visa under immigration law. Applicants may apply at consular sections around the world for a NAFTA professional (TN) visa. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required for visa applicants from age 14 to 79, with few exceptions. Making your appointment for an interview is the first step in the visa application process. Early visa application is strongly encouraged due to long waiting times for an interview appointment.


4. Required Documentation

Each applicant for a TN visa must adhere to the procedure as explained below:

  • Online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160;
  • A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions);
  • One (1) 2×2 photograph. A photograph is not required if you are applying in Mexico;
  • Letter of Employment in the U.S. In addition, the applicant’s employer in the U.S. must provide an employment letter that includes the position in question in the U.S. requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity;
  • The applicant must present evidence of professional employment plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level. Part-time employment is permitted. Self-employment is not permitted. An employment letter or contract providing a detailed description of the business activities may be provided from the U.S. or foreign employer, and should state the following:
    1. Activity in which the applicant shall be engaged and purpose of entry;
    2. Anticipated length of stay;
    3. Educational qualifications or appropriate credentials demonstrating professional status;
    4. Evidence of compliance with DHS regulations, and/or state laws; and
    5. Arrangements for pay.
    6. Although not required, proof of licensure to practice a given profession in the U.S. may be offered along with a job offer letter, or other documentation in support of a TN visa application.
    7. Applicants must show their intended stay is temporary, without the intent to establish permanent residence. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they have the following:
  • Education: The applicant’s employer must submit proof that the applicant meets the minimum education requirements or has qualifying alternative credentials. 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 U.S., Canada, or Mexico must be evaluatrd by a reliable credentials evaluation service specializing in evaluating foreign documentation.
  • Work Experience: Documentation 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.


5. Duration of Status

There is an initial stay period of up to (3) years.


6. Family Members of TN

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 who are accompanying or following to join TN visa holders may receive a TD visa. Applicants must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or parent-child relationship to the principal TN visa holder. Dependents do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canada. Spouses and children cannot work while in the U.S. They are permitted to study.

Canadian citizen spouses and children do not need visas, but review the CBP website for the port of entry requirements:

  • Spouse and children are not Canadian citizens – They must get a TD non-immigrant visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. They should review U.S. Embassy or Consulate website how to apply information.
  • Mexican citizen spouses and children must apply for TD non-immigrant visas at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate,
  • Spouses or children following to join must show a valid I-94, thereby providing proof that the principal TN visa holder is maintaining his/her TN visa status.


7. What are the NAFTA Professional Jobs?

For a complete list of professions with minimum education requirements and alternative credentials, see the NAFTA webpage, Appendix 1603.D.1 With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement. If a baccalaureate is required, experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative criteria to a bachelor’s degree is listed. For some professions, experience is required in addition to the degree.


8. For More Information on TN Visas