Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), certain citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to enter the US under the nonimmigrant TN status. The TN Visa enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily work in US in a NAFTA-approved professional occupation.
The following are the requirements to be eligible for the TN Visa:
- The profession be on the NAFTA list.
- The foreign national must possess the necessary training (education and/or experience) for that profession.
- The proposed position must be classified as a professional position.
- The foreign national must work for a US employer.
Canadian Citizens may apply for the TN-1 Visa, and Mexican citizens may apply for the TN-2 Visa. Please note that the process to obtain a TN-2 Visa is much more complicated than that of the TN-1. Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to enter the US under the derivative TD-1 and TD-2 visas. Family members are not required to be Canadian or Mexican citizens, and are eligible to remain in the US for the duration of the TN Visa holder’s stay. They may either accompany the TN Visa holder to the US or come at a later time.
A TN professional may be admitted initially for the period of time required by the employer, up to a maximum of 3 years. Extensions of stay are possible in increments of up to 3 years, with no cap on the total period of stay. However, a TN professional must continue to maintain an intention to remain in the U.S. only temporarily.
A complete listing of the qualified professions appears in Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA, but includes the following:
- Accountant, Architect, Computer Systems Analyst, Economist, Engineer, Graphic Designer, Hotel Manager, Interior Designer, Lawyer, Management Consultant, Mathematician (including Statistician), Scientific Technician/Technologist, Social Worker, Urban Planner, Dentist, Dietician, Occupational Therapist, Registered Nurse, Biochemist, Biologist, Chemist, Pharmacologist, and College, Seminary and University Teachers.