TN Status (Canada & Mexico)
Trade NAFTA - TN Status
Under the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), Canadian and Mexican professionals may apply to enter the U.S. under the TN immigration classification.
Applicants from Canada
The TN process for Canadian professionals does not require U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) certification of a Labor Condition Application or prior approval by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Qualifying Canadian nationals trained in one of the professions listed on Schedule 2 List of NAFTA Professional Job Series may obtain TN1 immigration status and enter the U.S. by applying at a U.S. port of entry or preflight inspection center. TN status is granted in up to three-year increments with unlimited renewals, requires no forms when applied for at the port of entry or preflight inspection center, and is available to some people who may not qualify for H-1B1 status.
Applicants from Mexico
For qualifying Mexican nationals trained in one of the professions listed on NAFTA, Schedule 2, as of December 1, 2003, the annual numerical cap and visa petition procedures for the TN2 nonimmigrant visa category ended. Effective January 1, 2004, prospective Mexican TN2 professional workers seeking the TN2 classification apply for a TN2 visa at a U.S. Consulate or embassy without a need for prior approval from USCIS or the Department of Labor.
The spouse and unmarried minor (under age 21) children of a TN2 worker who are Canadian citizens are granted TD immigration status. Dependents who are not Canadian citizens must apply to a U.S. Consulate for a TD visa. Dependents will be admitted to the U.S. for the period of time coinciding with the TN2's period of stay. Dependents entering the U.S. after the TN2 worker should present a certified copy of the worker's I-94, a supporting letter from the employer, and a copy of the TN2's original application for TN2 status. The procedure may be facilitated if the dependents apply at the same pre-flight inspection center or port of entry as the principle, as the application may still be on file there. Dependents in TD status are not eligible for employment. However, they can attend school in TD status. The spouse and unmarried minor (under age 21) children of a TN2 worker who are Mexican citizens must apply at a U.S. Embassy or consulate for a TD visa.
Requirements for Obtaining TN Status:
- Proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship. (Canadian landed immigrants and non-Canadian citizens are not eligible for TN status.)
- Evidence that the intended U.S. employment and the applicant qualify under Schedule 2 of NAFTA. See the Schedule 2 List of NAFTA Professional Job Series.
- Applicant must intend to engage in employment at a professional level. The employment must be prearranged by a U.S. company or institution.
- A letter from the U.S. employer detailing the nature of the employment in the U.S. TN status is granted for only one employer at a time for a specific type of work. For multiple employers, multiple TN applications must be filed.
- Originals or certified copies of school records, diplomas, licenses, degrees, certificates or membership in professional organizations; or transcripts showing an appropriate degree (bachelor's degree or higher) from a recognized college or university; a statement of U.S. equivalency might be required.
- The employment must be temporary. The letter from the U.S. employer must state that employment is temporary. The applicant cannot intend to remain in the U.S. permanently.
- There must be no strike or lockout at proposed worksite. If there is, USCIS may deny the entry.
- Mexican citizens and their dependents must first have an approved TN2 and TD visa stamp in their passports in order to receive TN2 or TD status at the U.S. port of entry.