Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), certain citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to enter the US under the nonimmigrant TN status. The TN Visa enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily work in US in a NAFTA-approved professional occupation. The following are the requirements to be eligible for the TN Visa:
- The profession be on the NAFTA list.
- The foreign national must possess the necessary training for that profession.
- The proposed position must be classified as a professional position.
- The foreign national must work for a US employer.
Canadian Citizens may apply for the TN-1 Visa, and Mexican citizens may apply for the TN-2 Visa. Please not that the process to obtain a TN-2 Visa is much more complicated than that of the TN-1. Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to enter the US under the derivative TD-1 and TD-2 visas. Family members are not required to be Canadian or Mexican citizens, and are eligible to remain in the US for the duration of the TN Visa holder's stay. They may either accompany the TN Visa holder to the US or come at a later time.
Canadian citizens applying for the TN-1 Visa must provide the following information at a US port of entry:
- An official request for TN status.
- Copies of all relevant college degrees and employment records. This data should prove the applicant is sufficiently qualified for the proposed position.
- A offer of employment letter from the sponsoring employer.
- A processing fee of $50.
Canadian citizens need not obtain Labor Certification. They must simply obtain TN status at a port of entry, after sufficiently proving that the proposed stay is of a temporary nature.
Mexican citizens are eligible to apply for the TN-2 Visa. Interested applicants must meet the following requirements:
- The sponsoring employer must file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor (DOL).
- The employer must also file a petition for nonimmigrant workers on Form I-129 with the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).
- After approval of the petition, the foreign national must apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a US Consulate in Mexico.
Only 5550 TN-2 Visas are issued each year to Mexican citizens. TN-2 candidates presently in the US under another nonimmigrant status may wish to apply for a change of status.