TN VISAS: North American Free Trade Agreement

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), certain citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to enter the U.S. to work temporarily under nonimmigrant TN status. The following are the requirements to be eligible for the TN Visa:

  • The profession must be on the NAFTA list.
  • The foreign national must possess the necessary education or training for that profession.
  • The proposed position must be classified as a professional position.
  • The foreign national must work for a U.S. 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 for obtaining 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 U.S. under the derivative TD-1 and TD-2 Visas. Family members may study in the U.S., but they are not allowed to work.

TN-1 Visa

Canadian citizens applying for the TN-1 Visa must provide the following information at a U.S. port of entry:

  • A document from the employer outlining the job duties, the length of the assignment, and the agreed-upon salary.
  • Proof that the employee has completed the necessary education or training for the position.
  • Proof that the employee has all of the necessary licenses for the position.
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship.

Canadian citizens need not file a petition for employment; they may simply obtain TN status at a port of entry.

TN-2 Visa

Mexican citizens are eligible to apply for the TN-2 Visa. Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican applicants must apply at the U.S. consulate in their home country. Interested applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A document from the employer outlining the job duties, the length of the assignment, and the agreed-upon salary.
  • Proof that the employee has completed the necessary education or training for the position.
  • Proof that the employee has all of the necessary licenses for the position.
  • Proof of Mexican citizenship.

TN Duration

TN status may be approved in one-year increments, but can be renewed indefinitely (also in one-year increments). Unlike other visa categories, the TN has no annual limits per fiscal year. There is no overall limit on the number of years a Canadian or Mexican citizen may remain in the U.S. in TN status.