US Visa for Canadians & US Visa in Mexico:
NAFTA TN Visa for Professionals
- What are NAFTA TN Visas?
- Am I Eligible for a TN Visa?
- NAFTA TN Visa Application Requirements for Canadian Citizens
- NAFTA TN Visa Application Requirements for Citizens of Mexico
- TN Visa Employment Letter
- Additional Documentation or Qualifying Requirements
- NAFTA TN Visa Fees
- Visa Ineligibility / Visa Waiver
- Bringing Family Members
- Visa Denials - NAFTA TN Visas
- Time Period and Time Limits of NAFTA TN Visas
- Admission through a U.S. Port of Entry on a NAFTA TN Visa
- How Do I Extend My Stay on TN Visa Status?
- Staying Beyond My Authorized Stay in the US and Being Out of Status
- HELP! with a NAFTA TN Visa
What are NAFTA TN Visas?
The TN visa is a nonimmigrant (temporary) US Visa for professionals who are eligible under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals. Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not eligible to apply to work in the US as a NAFTA professional.
- You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Your profession is on the NAFTA Professional Job Series List;
- The position in the U.S. requires a NAFTA professional;
- You will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for a U.S. employer (self employment is not permitted); and
- You have the qualifications of the profession
Please note that the application requirements for Canadians and Mexicans are different.
NAFTA TN Visa Application Requirements for Canadian Citizens
Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa, but instead receive "TN" status at the port of entry. You can apply at a U.S. port of entry with all of the following:
- By requesting admission under TN status with the US Customs and Border Protection immigration officer;
- Employment letter (see below) from your prospective U.S.-based employer offering you a job in the United States that is included on the NAFTA Professional Job Series List; and
- Proof of professional qualifications, such as transcripts of grades, licenses, certificates, degrees, and/or records of previous employment; (see Additional Documentation below)
- Proof of ability to meet applicable license requirements;
- Proof of Canadian citizenship in the form of a passport or secondary evidence, such as a birth certificate (Canadian citizens traveling to the United States from outside the Western Hemisphere are required to present a valid passport); and
- Fee of U.S. $50
NAFTA TN Visa Application Requirements for Citizens of Mexico
Mexican citizens may apply at US Consulates around the world for a NAFTA professional (TN) visa. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for most visa applicants. Interviews are generally by appointment only. As part of the visa interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan generally can be expected. The waiting time for an interview appointment can vary, so apply for your TN Visa early. Visa wait times for interview appointments, and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide, is available on our website at Visa Wait Times. Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy specific instructions, and much more by visiting the US Embassy or US Consulate website where you will apply.
As a Mexican citizen applying for a TN Visa you must submit these forms and documentation:
- Online Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application. Some US Embassies and US Consulates that have not converted to this new online process may require older nonimmigrant application forms. See Form DS-160 for more information.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
- One (1) 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in Nonimmigrant Visa Photograph Requirements. A photograph is not required if you are applying in Mexico.
- Letter of employment (see below) in the United States
- Evidence that your stay is for a temporary period that has a reasonable, finite end that does not equate to permanent residence.
TN Visa Employment Letter
Your employer in the US must provide you a Letter of Employment in the United States. The letter must indicate that the position requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity, consistent with the NAFTA Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Appendix 1603.d.1 (NAFTA Professional Job Series List).
You must present evidence of professional employment to satisfy the Consular Officer of your plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level. Part-time employment is permitted. Self-employment is not permitted. An employment letter or contract providing a detailed description of the business activities may be provided from the U.S. or foreign employer, and should state the following:
- Activity in which you will be engaged;
- Purpose of entry;
- Anticipated length of stay;
- Educational qualifications or appropriate credentials demonstrating professional status;
- Evidence of compliance with DHS regulations, and/or state laws; and
- Arrangements for pay.
Although not required, proof of licensure to practice a given profession in the United States may also be offered along with a job offer letter, or other documentation in support of a TN visa application.
- Education Requirement. Your employer must submit proof that you meet the minimum education requirements or have the alternative credentials set forth in NAFTA agreement, chapter 16 appendix 1603.d.1 (NAFTA Professional Job Series List). Evidence of professional qualifications may be in the form of degrees, certificates, diplomas, professional licenses, or membership in a professional organization. Degrees, diplomas, or certificates received from an educational institution outside the United States, Canada, or Mexico must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service specializing in evaluating foreign documentation.
- Work Experience Requirement. Documents proving your experience should be in the form of letters from former employers. If you were self-employed, business records should be submitted proving that self-employment.
- Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee. For current fees of State Department government services, see Fees for US Visa Services. You will need to provide a receipt showing the visa application processing fee has been paid, when you come for your visa interview.
- Visa issuance fee. Additionally, if the TN Visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee. See the US Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the amount is. If there is a fee for issuance for the visa, it is equal as nearly as possible to the fee charged to United States citizens by the applicant's country of nationality.
Visa Ineligibility / Visa Waiver
There are categories of persons ineligible to receive visas under U.S. law. In some instances an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly classifiable for TN Visa status, may apply for a waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver is approved. If you are found to be ineligible, the consular officer will advise you of any waivers.
Bringing Family Members
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are entitled to accompany you in derivative "TD" status, but they are unable to accept employment in the United States (although they are permitted to study). They do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canada. Derivative status means that their visas will be dependent on your nonimmigrant status. If you change your status, your family must change their status. If you lose your status, your family will also lose their status.
Canadian citizen spouses and children do not need visas, but they must have the following documents at the port of entry:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship;
- Proof of relationship to you, such as marriage certificate and birth certificate; and
- Photocopies of your entry documents.
Mexican citizen spouses and children must apply for TD nonimmigrant visas at a US embassy or US consulate.
If your spouse and children are not Canadian citizens, they must get a TD nonimmigrant visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate. They must contact the U.S. embassy or consulate that serves their area for information on how to make visa applications. If you are a Canadian residing in another country with a non-Canadian spouse and children, you will need a TN Visa for yourself to enable your spouse and children to apply for a TD visa to accompany or join you. To apply for a TN Visa for yourself, follow the Application Requirements for Citizens of Mexico (above).
Spouses or children following to join must show your valid I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card), which provides proof that you are maintaining your TN visa status.
Visa Denials - NAFTA TN Visas
If you are denied TN Visa status, you may apply again if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. In the absence of new evidence, consular officers are not obligated to re-examine such cases. For more information, see Visa Denied, Visa Refused Under 214b (Nonimmigrant Visa Denials, Visa Refusals).
Time Period and Time Limits of NAFTA TN Visas
The maximum period of admission into the U.S is one year. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants extensions of stay in time amounts of one year. There is no limit on the number of years a TN visa holder can stay in the United States. However, the TN visa status is not for permanent residence. For more information, see How Do I Extend My Stay on TN Visa status? (below).
Admission through a U.S. Port of Entry on a NAFTA TN Visa
You should be aware that a US Visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa is issued by a Department of State Consular Office abroad, but a separate U.S. agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has authority to deny admission at the port of entry. Also, the period for which you are authorized to remain in the U.S. is determined by the CBP, not the Department of State Consular Office. At the port of entry, a CBP official must authorize your admission to the U.S. At that time, the CBP official will provide you with a stamped I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card), which will include your admission number to the U.S. and which will note how long you are permitted to stay in the U.S. For more information, see:
- Inspection Process for U.S. Entry
- I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card)
- Length of Stay is Determined by My I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card) -- NOT My Visa
As a Mexican citizen seeking entry as a NAFTA professional (TN Visa status), you must present evidence of professional employment to satisfy the Immigration Officer of your plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level.
How Do I Extend My Stay on TN Visa Status?
Canadian or Mexican citizens admitted as a NAFTA Professional may seek an extension to stay beyond the time indicated on their I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card), which may be granted up to one year. The decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay is made solely by USCIS. To learn more about how to apply for an extension and its requirements, see Extend US Visa Status (I-94 Form I-94 Card): Visa Extension to Stay Longer on My Visit to USA.
Staying Beyond My Authorized Stay in the US and Being Out of Status
You should carefully consider the dates of your authorized stay and make sure you are following the procedures under U.S. immigration laws. It is important that you depart the U.S. on or before the last day you are authorized to be in the U.S. on any given trip, based on the specified end date on your I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card). Failure to depart the U.S. will cause you to be out-of-status.
- Staying beyond the period of time authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and being out-of-status in the U.S. is a violation of U.S. immigration law. You may become ineligible for a visa in the future for return travel to the United States.
- Staying unlawfully in the United States beyond the date Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authorized--even by one day--results in your visa automatically being voided. In this situation, you are required to reapply for a new nonimmigrant visa, generally in your country of nationality.
- For nonimmigrants in the U.S. who have an I-94 Arrival-Departure Record with the endorsement of Duration of Status or D/S, but who are no longer performing the same function in the U.S. that they were originally admitted to perform (e.g. you are no longer working for the same employer or you are no longer attending the same school), an official or an immigration judge may make a finding of a status violation, resulting in the termination of the period of authorized stay.
If you forget to turn in your I-94 Arrival-Departure Record, see How to Record Departure from the US After the Fact.
- Have a specific question? To help you find an answer quickly, we have placed "Ask a Visa & Immigration Lawyer" boxes on this page. Simply type a question in any of the boxes to receive a response online from a visa and immigration lawyer.
- For assistance in your country, contact the nearest U.S. Consulate.
- For inquiries on visa cases in progress overseas, contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate handling your case.
- For assistance within the U.S., contact the State Department's Visa Office at 202-663-1225. You may also email a general inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to indicate the general subject of your inquiry on the subject line (e.g., NAFTA TN Visa), and do not expect an immediate reply. You may also write to:
- In the U.S., you may also contact your nearest USCIS District office or Sub Office or call the national USCIS toll-free information service at 1-800-375-5283.
- You may also want to seek the advice of an immigration attorney (this link will help you find the right lawyer for your case), or an immigrant assistance organization. A list of accredited organizations and individuals is maintained by the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which also maintains a list of free legal service providers.
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520-0113