TN Visa - NAFTA Professionals - Requirements and How to Apply

TN Visa

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The TN visa is related to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created special economic and trade agreements between Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

This special US visa is designed to allow citizens of either Canada or Mexico to come into the United States to engage in certain prearranged business activities (see list below).

Canadian citizens may apply for the visa either at their local US Consulate or at the border control or port of entry into the United States.

Mexican citizens must apply via the US Consulate.

TN Visa Eligibility

TN visa for Mexican or Canadian professionalsTo qualify for a TN visa, you must…

  • Be a citizen of Mexico or Canada
  • Work in a professional occupation on the NAFTA list (see below).
  • Be coming to the US to work for a US employer in a job that requires your specific professional skills (may require an offer letter).

Terms of the TN Visa

  • Term Length — 3 years.
  • Extension — It is possible to extend a TN visa indefinitely in one-year increments. To qualify, you must be able to prove you have a residence in your home country, and that you intend to go back.
  • Freedom of movement — You may travel out of and reenter the United States provided your visa is still in term and you still intend to continue to carry out your professional business.
  • Dependents — Immediate family members (spouse and any unmarried children under 21) may stay in the US, under a TD visa. TD visa holders may attend school, but are not permitted to work unless they obtain a different visa. Note that you will need to be ready to prove the family relationship, usually by showing a marriage or birth certificate.

TN Visa FAQs

Q: If my spouse/child is not a Canadian/Mexican citizen, can they still get a TD dependent’s visa?

A: Yes, only the TN visa holder must be a citizen of the NAFTA signatory country.

Q: Can I work on a self-employed basis with a TN visa?

A: No. TN visas only cover permanent or part-time employment for a US-based employer.

Q: How can I prove my expertise in my profession?

A: Most types of positions require a baccalaureate-level degree, as detailed below. There are a few exceptions, which we can help guide you through.

Q: What alternatives are there to a TN visa?

A: TN holders cannot adjust status for Green Cards while in the U.S., however there is a process for applying for either EB1-1 (Extraordinary Ability), EB2, EB3 (Labor Certification Process) Green Cards via Consular process, however this process must be carefully managed. Contact us for more information.

TN Visa List of Approved Professions, with Required Credentials

Unless otherwise specified, the position normally requires Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

  • Accountant — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.
  • Architect — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license 2/ .
  • Computer Systems Analyst — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma 3/ or Post Secondary Certificate 4/ and three years’ experience.
  • Disaster relief insurance claims adjuster (claims adjuster employed by an insurance company located in the territory of a Party, or an independent claims adjuster) — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
  • Economist
  • Engineer — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license
  • Forester — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license
  • Graphic Designer — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate and three years experience.
  • Hotel Manager — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree in hotel/restaurant management; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate in hotel/restaurant management and three years experience in hotel/restaurant management.
  • Industrial Designer — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree;or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
  • Interior Designer — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
  • Land Surveyor — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or state/provincial/federal license.
  • Landscape Architect
  • Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec)-L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., or Licenciatura degree (five years); or membership in a state/provincial bar.
  • Librarian — M.L.S., or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree was a prerequisite).
  • Management Consultant — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant, or five years experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement.
  • Mathematician (including Statistician)
  • Range Manager/Range Conservationist
  • Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution)
  • Scientific Technician/Technologist  — Possession of (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research.
  • Social Worker-Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist)
  • Technical Publications Writer — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree, or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
  • Urban Planner (including Geographer)
  • Vocational Counselor

Medical & Allied Professionals

  • Dentist — D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia or Doctor en Cirugia Dental or state/provincial license.
  • Dietitian — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)/Medical Technologist (Mexico and the United States)  — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate,and three years experience.
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Pharmacist — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Physician (teaching or research only) — M.D. Doctor en Medicina; or state/provincial license.
  • Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist — Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Psychologist — state/provincial license; or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Registered nurse — state/provincial license or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Veterinarian — D.V.M., D.M.V., or Doctor en Veterinaria; or state/provincial license.

Scientists

  • Agriculturist (including Agronomist)
  • Animal Breeder
  • Animal Scientist
  • Apiculturist
  • Astronomer
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist
  • Chemist
  • Dairy Scientist
  • Entomologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Geneticist
  • Geochemist
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico and the United States)
  • Horticulturist
  • Meteorologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada)
  • Plant Breeder
  • Poultry Scientist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Zoologist

Teachers

  • College
  • Seminary
  • University

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