TN status requirements
The TN visa is for the admission of Canadian and Mexican citizens seeking temporary entry under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to engage in business activities at a professional level. TN visa applicants must participate in professional activities in Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Appendix 1603.D.1. in NAFTA. Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for TN visas. The initial period of stay in TN status is up to three years. You can make multiple entries with TN status or a TN visa.
To qualify you must be engaged in activities that require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional. Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN are accountants, computer systems analysts, dieticians, dentists, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. The TN visa professions in Appendix 1603.D.1 and the minimum requirements for qualification for each is in 8 CFR 214.6 (c).
TN Visa Requirements
If you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico you may qualify for admission in TN nonimmigrant status, if:
• Your profession qualifies under regulations;
• The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
• You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment – see documentation required below);
• You are seeking temporary entry, as defined in the NAFTA, meaning entry without the intent to establish permanent residence; and
• You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
Benefits of TN Visa Status
- No specific time limit on the total time you can have TN status provided you continue to work at a professional level in TN business activities
- Extensions of stay are for a maximum period of three years
- Extension applications for a new I-94 can be made at a port of entry (Unlike Canadians who are visa-exempt, Mexican citizens must have an unexpired TN visa and passport when seeking readmission at the border)
- No Labor Certification of Labor Condition Application
Drawbacks of TN status
- Spouse or children under 21 not allowed to work
- Dual intent not permitted (unlike H-1B or L-1 visas)
Spouse and dependent children (TD visa)
Your spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. They are granted TD status up to the period given to the principal TN nonimmigrant. Spouses and children are not authorized to work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study.
Canadians and Mexican professionals may also seek temporary entry into the United States as business visitors provided:
1. They receive no salary remuneration from a U.S. source other than expense allowances
2. They provide proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship
3. They describe the purpose of entry
4. Provide evidence they will engage in one of the occupations set out in Appendix 1603.A.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA
Canadians can seek admission as business visitors or TN by applying for admission at a port of entry or pre-clearance facility without a Nonimmigrant visa. Mexicans, however, must possess a valid, unexpired passport and Nonimmigrant visitor’s visa or a Border Crossing Card. A business person in an occupation or profession other than those listed in Appendix 1603.A.1 (above) may still be admitted temporarily under Section 101(a)(15)(B) of the Act if he otherwise meets the existing requirements for admission as a visitor for business as prescribed by the Attorney General. See 8 CFR 214.2(b)(4).
Some of the procedures for first time applications or TN visa renewals are different depending on whether you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen. If you are a Canadian or Mexican professional you may have questions about how to get, maintain and renew TN status and how to change employers without losing your status. We can help. If you want to make the United States your home and move from a TN visa to green card status we can also assist you to pursue permanent residence through employment. Contact us today.