TN Visas for Professionals from Canada and Mexico

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created specific opportunities for professional employees coming to the U.S. from Canada and Mexico with the TN visa. The process for obtaining this visa is streamlined for Canadian applicants, but all applicants must still be prepared to demonstrate their qualifications.

An experienced attorney can help you document your eligibility and apply for a visa through the TN visa program or other programs for which you may be eligible.

The United States immigration process can be extremely confusing. You will be required to collect important documents and navigate the complex TN application to prove that you qualify. The knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Luis F. Hess, PLLC, can guide you through each step in the process to help you gain your visa without unnecessary delays.

Lawyer for TN Visa in The Woodlands, Texas

Applying for an employment visa can be a lengthy and complicated process. An experienced immigration attorney can ensure your application is prepared correctly and documented with the right evidence to demonstrate your qualifications.

Luis F. Hess is an experienced attorney who’s passionate about immigration law. He is the son of immigrants and values the business that foreign businessmen and women bring to the United States. Call Luis F. Hess, PLLC, today at (281) 984-5294 to learn more about the opportunities available through the TN visa and how our team can help you reach your immigration goals. We serve clients nationwide.

Overview of TN Visa

  • Who Qualifies for a TN Visa?
  • How Do I Apply for TN Status?
  • Requirements for TN-1 Visas for Canadian Applicants
  • TN Visa Restrictions
  • Professions that Qualify for TN Status
  • Additional Resources

Who Qualifies for a TN Visa?

TN visas are temporary nonimmigrant visas based on the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It’s important to note that a TN visa is for foreign nationals who don’t wish to pursue citizenship. A TN visa is designed to be used for a temporary business purpose. The visa is valid for up to three years and may be extended, but it cannot be used as a stepping stone toward a permanent visa.

Not all citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible for TN visas. General criteria for eligibility include:

  • Citizenship in Canada or Mexico
  • Working in a profession that is listed in NAFTA
  • Having a position in the U.S. that requires a nonimmigrant professional
  • Holding the appropriate degree for the profession.

Note that someone who is self-employed cannot qualify for this visa. You must have a full or part-time job arranged with a U.S. employer.

Facing immigration concerns?

Whether you want to come to the U.S., get a U.S. visa, bring your family, get employed, or legally stay in the country, our immigration attorneys are available to help anywhere in the country.

Consult An Attorney

How Do I Apply for TN Status?

The application process differs depending on whether you are coming from Canada or Mexico. Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate. Instead, they can gain TN status by presenting the correct documentation to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry.

Canadian nationals seeking TN status must present proof of Canadian citizenship and a letter from the prospective employer. They may also need to undergo a credentials evaluation and pay any applicable fees. The letter from the employer must detail items such as the purpose of employment, length of stay, and educational qualifications.

You can also have your employer apply for TN status on your behalf. They do this by filing an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. Your employer will be required to pay a filing fee of $460 and submit evidence that you’re qualified for the position. This evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • A letter from the employer describing the position, length of stay, and the arrangements for your compensation;
  • Copies of your last two pay stubs and W-2; and
  • Evidence that you meet the requirements, such as a bachelor’s degree.

The I-129 form must be filed at the Service Center in the state you wish to live in. For most Canadian professionals seeking TN status, it is easier to apply for TN status at the border than to wait for an I-129 petition to be approved.

Professionals from Mexico will need to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico. The particular steps required can vary depending on the office. Generally, an applicant will complete an online application, schedule and complete an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and pay the required fees. At the interview, you should be prepared to present a contract or letter of employment from the U.S. employer (as described above for Canadian applicants) and documentation of your education and work experience to prove that you qualify for the position.

Requirements for TN-1 Status for Canadian Applicants

Whether a Canadian professional applies at the border or through the employer, they will need to bring documentation to gain TN status. This includes:

  • Proof of Citizenship (such as a birth certificate, passport, or Canadian driver’s license)
  • Evidence of Employment (such as pay stubs, a letter from the employer or a W-2)
  • Evidence of Credentials (such as a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD)
  • Letter from Employer (describing the type of work, your occupation, the duration of your stay, and your qualifications)

Entry for Mexican Professionals with a TN Visa

Once an applicant from Mexico has been approved for a TN visa, that professional can apply for admission to the U.S. at certain U.S. ports of entry or pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection stations designated by CBP. After the CBP officer inspects documentation and finds a professional to be eligible for admission, then that professional will be admitted to the U.S. as a TN nonimmigrant.

TN Visa Restrictions

All visas carry restrictions for both immigrants and nonimmigrants. If you wish to maintain TN status, you must adhere to all requirements and abide by all restrictions. This includes:

  • Performing duties for your profession;
  • Refraining from participating in a labor strike or dispute;
  • Filing for new TN employment authorization if you want to work for a different employer;
  • Avoiding employment termination
  • Avoiding self-employment

You must also follow the steps to renew TN status if you want to remain in the U.S. for more than three years.

The skilled immigration lawyers at Luis F. Hess, PLLC, can help you understand the critical details that apply to TN visa restrictions.

Facing immigration concerns?

Whether you want to come to the U.S., get a U.S. visa, bring your family, get employed, or legally stay in the country, our immigration attorneys are available to help anywhere in the country.

Consult An Attorney

Professions that Qualify for TN Status

Only employees in certain professions can gain TN status. If you work in one of the following professions, you can apply for TN status:

  • Accountant
  • Architect
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Economist
  • Interior Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Lawyer
  • Land Surveyor
  • Landscape Architect
  • Forester
  • Graphic Designer
  • Hotel Manager
  • Disaster Relief Insurance
  • Vocational Counselor
  • Social Worker
  • Technical Publications Writer
  • Forestry Specialist
  • Urban Planner
  • Mathematician
  • Research Assistant
  • Scientific Technician
  • Range Manager
  • Librarian
  • Management Consultant
  • Dentist
  • Veterinarian
  • Registered Nurse
  • Psychologist
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Medical Technologist
  • Agriculturist
  • Animal Breeder
  • Biochemist
  • Apiculturist
  • Animal Scientist
  • Biologist
  • Chemist
  • Dairy Scientist
  • Entomologist
  • Geochemist
  • Teacher
  • Zoologist
  • Plant Breeder
  • Geophysicist
  • Horticulturist
  • Meteorologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Poultry Scientist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Geneticist
  • Geographer
  • College professor

Additional Resources

The TN NAFTA Professionals page on the USCIS website provides more information about TN-1 and TN-2 visas. This and other government sites provide additional detail about eligibility for Mexican citizens, how I-129 forms work, and comparisons of the TN visas with the HB-1 visa. The sites also provide links to the official immigration forms. Alternatively, your immigration attorney can explain the relevant details.

Nationwide Lawyer for TN and Other Visas

If you or a loved one is trying to gain a TN visa, it’s important to understand how an experienced immigration attorney can assist in the process. The United States has a confusing immigration system that can be overwhelming. One mistake could force you back over the border and damage your future opportunities to return to the U.S.

The team at Luis F. Hess, PLLC, can help you take advantage of career opportunities through the TN or other visas. We can help you collect the right documents, prepare your application correctly, and avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your approval. Call us today at (281) 984-5294 to schedule a consultation.