Skip to main content
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

TN Nonimmigrant Status for Citizens of Canada and Mexico

TN Nonimmigrant Status for Citizens of Canada and Mexico

What is TN Status?

The TN (Trade NAFTA) nonimmigrant classification was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement to provide for admission of Canadian and Mexican citizens coming to the U.S. to engage in professional activities.

Eligibility for TN Status

TN status is available only to citizens of Mexico and Canada (not landed immigrants). Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a citizen of a NAFTA country may work in a professional occupation in another NAFTA country provided that:

  1. the profession is on the NAFTA list;
  2. the individual possesses the specific educational degree or appropriate credentials for the professional occupation as defined in the NAFTA agreement;
  3. the prospective position requires someone in that professional capacity, and
  4. the individual is going to work for a U.S. employer

TN Application Process

The requirements for Canadians and Mexicans wishing to enter under this classification are not the same. Citizens of Canada must provide the following at a U.S. port-of-entry:

  1. A valid Canadian passport
  2. Copies of the educational and other appropriate credentials to establish qualification for the prospective employment;
  3. A letter on department letterhead offering him or her qualifying employment in the United States – this letter will be prepared by OVIS
  4. Admission fee

Applicants for TN status maybe be admitted to the U.S. for up to three years.  TN status may be extended indefinitely in three-year increments either through a new application at a U.S. port-of-entry, or through a petition filing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Citizens of Mexico must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. Consulate outside the United States. The application must include:

  1. A valid Mexican passport;
  2. Completed Form DS-160, appropriate visa fees and photos
  3. Copies of the educational and other appropriate credentials to establish qualification for the prospective employment
  4. A letter on department letterhead offering him or her qualifying employment in the United States – this letter will be prepared by OVIS

Applicants for TN status maybe be admitted to the U.S. for up to three years.

Citizens of Mexico may apply for extensions of TN status at a U.S. Consulate outside the United States, or through a petition filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Dependents

The spouse and unmarried, minor children of the principal TN beneficiary are entitled to derivative TD status, but they are unable to accept employment in the United States. If a dependent of a Canadian citizen does not hold Canadian citizenship, he or she must apply for a TD visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate prior to seeking admission to the U.S.

Maintenance of TN Status

  • Beneficiaries of TN status must be employed in the U.S. in the TN employment described in the TN application.  Material changes to employment, or a request for concurrent TN employment, will require an amended or new application for TN status.
  • TN status requires that the TN beneficiary have the intent to return to his or her home country at the conclusion of the temporary stay in the U.S. TN status is not compatible with tenure-track faculty appointments or plans to immigrate to the U.S. (i.e., become a "permanent resident" and hold a "green card.")

Other Resources

Additional information on the TN nonimmigrant classification can be found on the following U.S. government agency websites:

U.S. Department of State:  Visas for Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Workers (click here)
USCIS: TN NAFTA Professionals (click here
U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Nonimmigrant Trade NAFTA Professional (TN)  (click here)

Last Updated: 12/11/14