TN Status for Canadian and Mexican Citizens
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made it easier for Canadian and Mexican citizens to work as professionals in the United States. Under NAFTA, qualifying professionals are given TN (Trade NAFTA) status. Canadians are classified as having TN-1 status, and Mexicans as TN-2 status. Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico do not qualify for the TN visa.
TN status is granted for an initial period of three years but may be renewed indefinitely. TN status is employer-specific. This means that if you were issued TN status based on your current job but want to switch to another job with a new employer, you must reapply for TN status based on the job offer with the new employer. Also, it is possible to have more than one TN visa at a time—this is usually the case when for example, a management consultant comes to the United States to work for a variety of employers.
Unlike the H-1B visa, there is no annual cap, or limit, on the number of TN visas available each year.
Applying for TN Status
The following documentation must be provided when applying for TN status or a TN visa:
- Proof of the employee’s Canadian or Mexican citizenship, which may be shown by providing a birth certificate or passport;
- Evidence that the employee will be working in a profession included on the NAFTA list of professions;
- Proof of the employee’s professional qualifications, which may be shown by providing copies of degrees, certificates, licenses, transcripts, grades, and/or records of previous employment;
- Proof of ability to meet any U.S. or state licensing requirements, if any; and
- A Letter of Employment from the employer explaining the professional activity the employee will engage in; the purpose of entry to the United States; the employee’s educational qualifications and compliance with any licensing requirements; and how the employee will be compensated.
- Self-employment is not permitted.
Canadian and Mexican citizens already in the United States in another status may be able to change their status to TN while remaining in the United States. Canadian citizens may also request TN status at a U.S. port of entry by providing the required documentation and paying a fee. Mexican citizens must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.
TD Status for Family Members of Canadian and Mexican Citizens in TN Status
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of Canadian and Mexican citizens in TN status are given TD status. Persons in TD status may study in the United States but are not allowed to work.