TN NAFTA Professionals

Canadian and Mexican citizens may qualify for temporary entry into the United States pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as TN NAFTA Professionals. The following professions are considered eligible, pursuant to NAFTA:

  • accountants
  • engineers
  • lawyers
  • pharmacists
  • scientists
  • teachers

The following criteria must be met in order to satisfy TN visa eligibility:

  • citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • professional under the regulations, as listed above;
  • the position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
  • the Canadian or Mexican citizen has prearranged a full-time or part-time position with a U.S. employer (i.e., it cannot be self-employment); and
  • the Canadian or Mexican citizen possesses the necessary qualifications to practice in the profession.

Canadian citizens are typically eligible for admission, if they meet the aforementioned criteria, as a nonimmigrant without a visa, and are not required to apply for a TN visa at the U.S. consulate. Rather, citizens of Canada must present their required documentation to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at designated ports of entry or at designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection stations. The following documentation must be provided:

  • proof of Canadian citizenship;
  • letter from prospective employer detailing the following:
    • the professional capacity in which the Canadian citizen will work while within the United States
    • the purpose of employment
    • the length of stay
    • the Canadian citizen’s educational qualifications;
  • credential evaluations, if applicable; and
  • fees.

Upon review, the CBP Officer may find the Canadian citizen eligible and admit them as a TN nonimmigrant, onsite. Alternatively, a prospective employer may file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is living outside the United States by submitting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, to USCIS. Upon approval of the Form I-129 by USCIS, the prospective worker can apply for admission to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant by providing the Approval Notice of Form I-129 and proof of Canadian citizenship to a CBP Officer at specific ports of entry or at designated pre-clearance/pre-flight stations. The CBP Officer may find the Canadian citizen eligible and admit them as a TN nonimmigrant, onsite.

Mexican citizens must obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant; therefore, application must be made directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. Once approved, the citizen of Mexico may apply for admission at designated ports of entry or at designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection stations. Upon review, the CBP Officer may find the Mexican citizen eligible and admit them as a TN nonimmigrant, onsite.

The TN Nonimmigrant’s initial period of stay is up to three (3) years; however, an extension may be sought. The Canadian and/or Mexican’s employer may file Form I-129 on behalf of their employee to extend their stay. In the alternative, a Canadian TN Nonimmigrant professional may depart from the United States prior to their status expiring, and once abroad, may apply to a CBP Officer at designated ports of entry or at designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection stations using their same documentation implemented when originally applying for TN Nonimmigrant status. The Canadian TN would present a job offer letter, their Canadian passport, the filing fee and any other necessary supporting documentation to the interviewing officer .

Dependents accompanying the TN Nonimmigrant may be eligible for TD status as well. Let the attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC guide you through this process. Call (717) 836-0471 to schedule a consultation today.