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TN NAFTA Professionals:

The TN nonimmigrant classification allows qualified citizens of Canada and Mexico to enter the United States temporarily to engage in business activities at the professional level on behalf of an American employer.

General Requirements for TN Classification:

  • The individual must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
  • The profession must be listed on Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA schedule for professionals, accessible here.
  • The individual must meet the educational and/or experience requirements for the listed profession, as designated in the NAFTA schedule.
  • The individual must have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a United States employer, and the individual must be qualified to practice in the profession. There is no self-employment allowed under the TN category.

Procedural Aspects:

  • TN’s are admitted for up to 3 years, but the admission process is different for citizens of Canada and Mexico.
  • Canadian citizens do not have to obtain a visa prior to entering and may apply for admission as a TN at a designated port of entry of pre-flight inspection station. Canadians must provide proof of Canadian citizenship, a detailed letter from the prospective employer outlining the position, and a credentials evaluation (if applicable), along with any applicable fees. The American employer may also file an I-129 petition for the individual with USCIS in lieu of the individual submitting documentation at the port of entry.
  • Mexican citizens must obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. Individuals may seek a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. Upon the grant of a visa, the individual will seek admission as a TN at a port of entry. An I-129 petition with USCIS by the employer is not a prerequisite for seeking a TN visa in Mexico.
  • Both Canadian and Mexican citizens in the United States in lawful nonimmigrant status may change their status to TN by having the sponsoring employer file an I-129 with USCIS before their authorized period of stay expires. However, Mexican nationals must obtain a visa upon departure to reenter the country as a TN.
  • The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to accompany or follow to join the principal TN individual and are accorded TD status.

Example: A Canadian architect with a bachelor’s degree and the appropriate professional license is offered a job with a large American firm. The individual presents documentation of his Canadian citizenship, qualifications for the position, and a detailed support letter outlining the proposed position from the American employer to a CBP officer at a designated port of entry. After inspection, the individual is admitted for three years as a TN employee.

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