TN NAFTA Professionals
These are visas given to citizens of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countriescomprised of the United States, Canada and Mexico. It allows those qualified applicants to come to the USand work in a business and/or a professional capacity, such as an accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
Temporary EntryUnder 8 CFR § 214.6(b)
The alien must satisfy the inspecting immigration officer that the proposed stay is temporary. A temporary period has a reasonable, finite end that does not equate to permanent residence. In order to establish that the alien’s entry will be temporary, the alien must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the inspecting immigration officer that his or her work assignment in the United States will end at a predictable time and that he or she will depart upon completion of the assignment.
- You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico
- Your profession qualifies under the regulations
- The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional
- You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment – see documentation required below)
- You have the qualifications of the profession
Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Citizens
Canadians do not need to apply for a TN visa with a U.S. consulate or USCIS, they can request a TN visa at a U.S. port of entry by showing:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship
- Letter from your prospective employer showing the position, purpose of employment, length of stay and educational credentials
- Credentials evaluation (if applicable)
Canadian Citizen’s Dependents
Any spouse and children of a Canadian citizen do not need visas, but they must provide the following documentation at the port of entry:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship
- Proof of relationship to the TN nonimmigrant, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate
- Photocopies of the TN nonimmigrant’s entry documents
Eligibility Criteria for Mexican Citizens
Mexican citizens have to get a TN visa from the US Consulate for their area.
Mexican Citizen’s Dependents
Any spouse and children of a Mexican citizen must apply for the TD nonimmigrant status at an American Embassy or Consulate.
Period of Stay
The initial period of stay is 3 years but an extension of stay is permitted either within the US or from abroad. If in the US, the employer should do it with Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and not Form I-539 as is the general custom.
Spouse and children under the age of 21 will get the TD nonimmigrant status. They not have to be citizens of NAFTA countries to qualify. They will not be permitted to work in the US, but they can study in the US.
From a TN Visa to a Green Card
A TN Visa holder wishing to change status to that of an LPR should do so cautiously since the TN visa is given only for a temporary entry. A carelessly planned application for Permanent Residency while on a TN visa can lead to a denial. It is therefore recommendable that an immigrant visa be pursued abroad through the mechanism of a PERM Labor Certification and the filing of Form I-140 at the appropriate interval. When the immigrant visa becomes available abroad, then the TN Visa holder and their dependent should travel abroad to interview and receive their immigrant visa. This process will allow them to comply with the terms of their TN visa without running afoul of 8 CFR § 214.6(b).