TN Free Trade NAFTA Visas
The North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA") allows for the admission of certain listed professionals to the United States from Canada and Mexico. The TN visa is valid for up to one year, with annual extensions available. There are no numerical limits on TN visas issued to Canadians, but there is a limit of 5,500 TN visas per year for Mexicans.
TN applicants must have an offer of employment from a business or individual whose business is located in the United States. The NAFTA Appendix lists 63 occupations in which Canadian and Mexican professionals may work temporarily in the United States. Most of the listed professions require at least a bachelor's degree.
The prospective employer of the TN applicant should provide a letter describing the proposed employment, the firm's size, income and services, the job description, and job requirements such as education, experience and licensing. The letter should identify the duration of the proposed employment as well. Because TN visa holders are admitted for up to one year, the employer should remain cognizant that stated employment duration for more than one year might result in a denial of TN status.
The procedure for TN visa status depends on whether the applicant is present in the United States already. Canadian professionals may apply for TN status directly to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) inspector at any port of entry or airport. The applicant should provide the employer letter, proof of work experience and the appropriate fee. In these cases, no prior petition is required to be approved by USCIS. If the CBP inspector grants admission, an I-94 form valid for one year will be issued.
If the Canadian professional is already present in the United States, s/he may apply to change his/her immigration status or extend the TN status by filing an I-129 form with USCIS Nebraska Service Center. Status is granted on an I-797 Notice of Action form with an I-94 attached. As an alternative, the Canadian professional may travel to the nearest port of entry and apply for an extension there. (Many Canadian professionals in Southern California choose this option.) Mexican professionals applying for TN status must have an approved I-129 petition, and unlike Canadian applicants, they cannot apply at a port of entry without first receiving an I-129 approval.
The following are just some of the NAFTA occupations listed in the NAFTA appendix:
~ Economist ~ Dietitian ~ Engineer ~ Vocational counselor ~ Forester ~ Occupational therapist ~ Disaster relief insurance and claims adjuster ~ Pharmacist ~ Hotel Manager ~ Physician (teaching or research only) ~ Graphic Designer ~ Veterinarian ~ Accountant ~ Registered nurse ~ Architect ~ Psychologist ~ Computer Systems Analyst ~ Physical Therapist ~ Land Surveyor ~ Teacher (college, seminary or university) ~ Librarian ~ Geologist ~ Management Consultant ~ Pharmacologist ~ Social Worker ~ Zoologist ~ Scientific technician/technologist ~ Geochemist ~ Urban planner ~ Other types of scientist
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General Employment Based Immigration Information
Employment Based Visas
Labor Certification / PERM
H-1B Visas, Transfers & Extensions
L-1 Intra Company Transfer
O-1 Extraordinary Abilities Visas
TN Free Trade NAFTA Visas
E-1 Treaty Traders
E-2 Non-Immigrant Investor Visa
E-3 Visa for Australians
EB-1 Priority Workers
EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees
EB-3 Skilled or Professional Workers
EB-4 Religious Worker Green Card
EB-5 "Million Dollar" Investor Green Card
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