The TN Visa is only available for Canadian and Mexican citizens under the terms outlined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFA). This visa category is for 'Professionals Under the North American Free Trade Agreement'.
Qualifications Needed for a TN Visa
Any citizen of a NAFTA country is permitted to pursue a professional occupation in the United States provided that:
- NAFTA recognizes the profession;
- The applicant meets the criteria for the particular profession;
- The prospective vacancy requires a person in that professional capacity;
- The applicant will be working for a US employer.
A TN visa can only be issued if the above conditions are met.
It is to be noted that the spouse of the applicant and any unmarried minor children will be entitled to a derivative status visa. However, they would not be able to get employed in the US. Those people entering the US in this category will be classified as non-immigrants and will be provided a TD visa status.
For a list of professions approved by NAFTA, click here.
Getting a TN Visa
There are some differences involved in getting the TN visa between Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens, with the process being slightly more complex for the latter.
For Canadian citizens, getting a TN status does not require a visa. Canadian citizens can enter the US by getting a TN-1 status at the border. The overall process of applying for the TN status is relatively straightforward.
- The applicant must obtain a job offer that specifies job tenure of no more than three years
- This, along with educational documents, is then presented upon entry into the US from Canada (at any port of entry) together with documents that prove the applicants Canadian citizenship.
- A fee of $50 applies along with an additional $6 (at sea or land crossing; included in air tickets)
Once the TN status has been granted for Canadian citizens, it is valid for 3 years.
The process of obtaining the TN status is more complex for Mexican citizens. Mexican nationals need a visa prior to entering the US. They can apply for a visa at the US Embassy or Consulate's website.
- The applicants are required to fill out the DS-160 form online, and printing it to bring it to the interview.
- After completing the form, the applicant is needed to upload a photo online. It is, however, not required when applying in Mexico.
- With some exceptions, interviews are required for people between ages 14 and 79. These can be scheduled from the US Consulate website.
The following documentation is needed:
- Non-immigration visa application, confirmation page of form DS-160
- Application fee receipt
- Letter of employment in the US
- Education/Work experience requirements.
Additional documents are be required before the visa is granted.