Nafta professionals (TN)

The TN category is available for citizens of Mexico and Canada who are determined to be professionals under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Granted in one-year increments, the TN classification allows a Mexican or Canadian national to enter into the United States to work in specific occupations (as listed in NAFTA Appendix 1603.D.1).  The applicant must be able to show that he or she has the qualifications required of the enumerated profession, and that he or she is entering the United States to work in the profession for a specific U.S. employer.

Obtaining a TN Visa

Canadian TN applicants may apply for TN status at a port of entry (POE).  At that time, the applicant would present to a reviewing officer with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, supporting documentation demonstrating eligibility for TN status.  If approved, the TN applicant will be issued a multiple entry Form I-94 with validity for one year.  This documentation would include:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship
  • Qualifications for the specific occupation (including education documents and employment verification letters)
  • Employer letter confirming offer of employment
  • Information about the employer (e.g., company brochure) and
  • Payment of fees.

As of January 1, 2004, the procedures were simplified for Mexicans with the removal of the requirement for petitions and labor condition applications.  Mexican citizens can apply for TN visas at any U.S. Consulate in Mexico or at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.  As part of the application process, Mexican TN applicants must schedule and appear for an interview with a consular officer.  It is advisable to consult the Visa Wait Times in preparing a TN application.  Furthermore, Mexican TN applicants must pay for and obtain proof of visa fee payments prior to the interview.

When appearing for the interview, Mexican TN applicants must present supporting documentation showing that he or she is qualified for the occupation, as described in Appendix 1603.D.1, that he or she is entering the country to work in that occupation for a United States employer.  If the TN application is approved, the applicant will be issued a TN visa, valid for up to 3 years.

Family Members

The spouse and/or children (under 21 years old) of TN applicants may apply for TD status.  The family members need not hold the same citizenship as the TN applicant.  However, if the family member of a Canadian TN applicant is not a Canadian citizen, he or she will need to schedule an interview and submit a TD visa application with a U.S. consular post in Canada.  Once in the United States, a family member in TD status is permitted to enroll as a full time student.  However, a TD dependent family member is not allowed to work.

Extension of Status

Prior to the expiration of status, TN workers have the option of submitting request for extension of TN status with the Vermont Service Center and remain in the United States until the extension request has been adjudicated.  TN workers may also either reapply for a new TN at the POE (for Canadians) or at a U.S. consular post or embassy (for Mexicans).