TN Visa: An Introduction

The TN Visa is a temporary work visa allowing only Mexican and Canadian nationals to work within the United States. 

Requirements

In order to apply, the applicant must

  1. Possess a university degree;
  2. Be offered a US-based employment position within the United States,
  3. That position must require a university degree, and
  4. The position falls within a pre-approved profession list as found within APPENDIX 1603.D.1 OF ANNEX 1603 OF THE NAFTA.  For a list of approved professions, click here: http://www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/immig/tnvisa/tn_occupationlist.pdf 

Bank records, financial statements, and similar documents are not required to apply.  Nonetheless, the existence of those documents makes it easier to obtain approval when included within an application packet. 

An individual may be admitted to the United States in TN status for the period of time required by the employer, up to a maximum initial period of stay of three years. TN professionals can receive extensions of stay in increments of up to three years, with no outside limit on the total period of stay. The limits on stay for H-1B (six years) and L nonimmigrants (five or seven years) do not apply to TN professionals. In addition, Canadian and Mexican professionals who have already completed six years in the H-1B or L nonimmigrant category can immediately qualify for the TN category without fulfilling the requirement of one-year abroad imposed on H-1B and L nonimmigrants. The only limitation on the duration of stay of TN nonimmigrants is that the purpose of the stay must continue to be temporary.

Canadian professionals may enter the United States under NAFTA without the requirement of a USCIS petition approval required in the H-1 category; these professionals can enter the United States simply by providing documentation at the port of entry that they are engaged in one of the designated professions, and that they possess the requisite educational credentials to qualify in the listed profession. Canadian professionals are designated as TN-1 nonimmigrants.

Mexican nationals seeking TN status must apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate.

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