A TN visa is a tool created by the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (now the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to help citizens of Canada and Mexico obtain temporary employment in the United States. Canadian professionals apply using a TN-1 visa, and Mexican professionals apply with a TN-2. These visa applications are for professionals employed in specific career areas or fields.
TN Visa Requirements
To qualify for a TN visa, you must meet several requirements. These requirements include:
- Employment in one of the accepted USMCA professions
- Evidence that the United States employment position requires a professional applicant
- You have prearranged a part-time or full-time job with a US employer. Visa applications based on self-employment are not accepted.
- Employment in one of the accepted NAFTA professions
- Your credentials and educational background fit the job requirements
- Canadian or Mexican citizenship (Note: Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not eligible for the TN visa process.)
Mexican citizens and their qualifying dependents are required to apply for and obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN non-immigrant. To apply for a TN visa directly, visit a US embassy or consulate in Mexico. However, even if your application is granted, you must also submit to Customs and Border Protection (CPB) inspection prior to entry. You will undergo at CBP-designated ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight station to gain admission. If the CP officer determines that you are cleared for admission, you will be admitted as a TN non-immigrant.
TN Visa Professions
The USMCA provides a list of 60 qualified TN professions. Some of these professions include, but are not limited to:
- Management Consultant
- Graphic Designer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Hotel Manager
- Industrial Designer
- Interior Designer
- Land Surveyor
- Landscape Architect
TN Period of Stay and Extensions
If your application is granted and you are admitted as a TN non-immigrant, your visa is valid for up to three years. If you want to remain in the United States past the initial visa period without first leaving the country, you must seek an extension of stay. If you are already in the United States, your employer may file an I-129—a petition for a non-immigrant worker—on your behalf in support of an extension.
You may apply for an extension of stay by leaving the country before your visa expires and applying for an extension at a CBP-designated U.S. port of entry or a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. You may apply using the same application and procedures as you did in your initial TN admission application. If you apply for an extension of stay at the end of your TN visa period, any eligible TN dependent family member must also apply for an extension.
Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants
Accompanying spouses and children under 21 may qualify as TN dependent non-immigrants, or TDs. TDs are:
- Not allowed to work while in the United States; study is permitted
- Only able to hold TD status for as long as the original TN non-immigrant applicant
If you are a Mexican TD and wish to travel abroad while in TD status after extensions of stay or after your TD visa has expired, you must apply for a new TD visa. To apply, you must visit a U.S. embassy or consulate before you may be allowed to reenter the country under TD status.