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: up to 3 years (previously it was only 1 year)

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


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