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NAFTA Professionals and TN Visas

Canadian and Mexican citizens may be eligible to enter the United States as a NAFTA professional to work temporarily in the United States if they meet the following requirements:

  1. They are a Canadian or Mexican citizen (not a permanent resident);
  2. The profession in which they intend to work is on the NAFTA list, which includes, but is not limited to, professions such as accounting, teaching, and pharmacy (visit for the full list);
  3. The position in the United States in which they intend to work requires a NAFTA professional;
  4. They will be working in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for an employer (self-employment is not permissible); and
  5. They have the qualifications required for the profession, including the education, experience, and other specific requirements of the profession.

Most NAFTA professions require at least a Bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions (minimum requirements for each profession, including degree requirements, can be found at ). If a particular degree is required for a profession, then experience cannot be substituted for that degree. If granted, a TN visa (or TN status) is valid for 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely in 3 year increments.

The process for Canadian citizens varies a bit from that for Mexican citizens. Canadian citizens generally do not require a TN visa, but will be required to obtain TN status in order to enter the United States as a NAFTA professional, although they may request the issuance of a TN visa. The only category of Canadians seeking TN status who must obtain a TN visa are Canadians who live in a third country with a non-Canadian spouse and/or children (spouses and children are then eligible for “TD” visas). Canadian citizens who choose not to obtain a visa ahead of time should apply for TN status at a U.S. port of entry.

Mexican citizens must apply for, and be granted, a TN visa prior to entering the United States as a NAFTA professional. Most Mexican citizens who apply for a TN visa will also need to attend an interview at a United States embassy or consulate prior to being granted a TN visa.

If you are interested in learning more about the TN process, please contact Tanner Law Offices at 717-836-0471 to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.