TN visa status enables qualified Canadian and Mexican professionals to live and work in the United States with relative flexibility. There is no numerical limitation to the number of TN visas that are issued every year, which makes TN status an appealing option for Canadian and Mexican professionals.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created a classification for qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily enter the United States for work and other professional business purposes. In July 2020, the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaced NAFTA but maintained the TN category for USMCA professionals. Appendix 2 of Annex 16-A of USMCA, Chapter 16 lists the job titles and educational requirements for TN visa-eligible positions, which include mostly professional positions, such as engineers, scientists, accountants, lawyers, pharmacists, teachers, and scientists, among many others.
Each professional category as listed in USMCA has corresponding minimum education requirements and, if applicable, alternative acceptable credentials. For the majority of professions, the minimum education requirements include a Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree. A Canadian or Mexican citizen should ensure that their proposed position in the U.S. corresponds both in title and duties to one of the listed professions in USMCA and that they possess at least the minimum required credentials.
There are a number of benefits to TN status:
The process of acquiring TN status looks different for Canadian and Mexican citizens.
For Canadian citizens, the worker may choose to either submit a petition to the USCIS or apply for TN status directly at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port of Entry.
For Mexican citizens, a TN visa stamp is required to enter the U.S. Mexican citizens must apply for TN status at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico unless they are already in the U.S. If already in the U.S., the worker may file a change of status petition with the USCIS:
TN status is valid for up to three years and can be renewed for three-year periods indefinitely. An extension can either be filed from within the U.S. by submitting a petition to the USCIS, or the individual may return to their home country and re-apply for TN status.
For TN petitions submitted to the USCIS:
For TN applications submitted at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico:
*Please note that these fees are subject to change and, under the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published by the USCIS in January 2023, will be increased.
You do not have to represent yourself to obtain a TN visa. Ellen Freeman and her team of legal experts are here to assist you in obtaining a TN visa whether you derive from Canada or Mexico. Give us a call or submit a consultation request through the contact form below.