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NAFTA Professionals (TN & TD Visas)

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Jan 31, 2019)

Impact of USMCA on NAFTA Professionals

November 30, 2018. The United States, Mexico, and Canada have agreed on a new trade agreement, denoted as USMCA. This agreement replaces North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The TN visa, currently available to certain professionals in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, under NAFTA, has generally survived.  There may be regulatory changes in the administration of the TN visa. We will update this page, when new regulations are announced To read about TN visa, review this page. To see the latest news from the United States Citisenship and Immigration Service, see USCIS News.

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What is a TN visa?

The TN visa was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement, a treaty among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The TN visa allows certain professionals to work in the United States on a temporary basis.  They must, however, maintain intent to return to their homeland.

Do I qualify for a TN Visa?

You would qualify for a TN visa, if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • You are coming to the United State to work in a qualified profession
  • The position requires a NAFTA professional.
  • You have a full-time or part-time job offer from a U.S. employer. (Self employment is not acceptable).
  • You are qualified and licensed to practice, if needed, to discharge the duties of the proposed position.

Does my profession qualify for a TN visa?

A rather wide variety of professions qualify for TN visa.  These professions are listed at 8 C.F.R. ยง 214.6 (Appendix 1603.D.1).  All of these professions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

What evidence do I need to present to support a petition for TN visa?

You must present the following documents to support your TN visa petition:

  • Proof of your Canadian or Mexican citizenship.
  • A letter from your prospective U.S. employer, specifying the following: (a) the position and the professional capacity in which you will work, (b) purpose of your employment, (c) your educational qualification, and (d) the length of the proposed employment.
  • Documents establishing your qualifications, including transcripts, degrees, licenses, and credential evaluation reports, if needed.

How should I apply for TN visa?

If you are a Canadian citizen, you may present the required documents at a port of entry and seek admission on a TN visa there. Alternatively, your employer may file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) with the USCIS.

If you are a Mexican citizen, you must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate.

To see the current USCIS fee schedule, see USCIS Fee Schedule.

To see how long the USCIS would take to adjudicate petition, see USCIS Processing Times.

Premium Processing Service is available for Form I-129 submitted to secure a TN visa classification.

How long is a TN visa valid?

Initially, a TN visa is granted for up to three (3) years, depending on the length of your proposed employment. If you are in the United States and wish to renew your visa, you may either (a) leave the country and come back under the same process that you initially utilized to secure your visa or (b) have your employer file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) with the USCIS so that you may seek an extension of your stay.

Can my spouse and children accompany me to the United States?

Yes. The spouses and minor children (unmarried and under 21) of TN visa holders may accompany, or follow-to-join, them, under a TD visa. The spouse and minor children of Canadian TN visa holders do not need a visa, but must present proof of the TN visa holder's visa and their relationship at the border. The spouse and minor children of Mexican TN visa holders must apply for a TD visa at a U.S. consulate.


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