Overview of the TN Nonimmigrant Visa | How Does the TN Visa for Canadians Differ from the TN Visa for Mexicans?

By: Coleman Jackson, Attorney and Certified Public Accountant
May 20, 2021

TN Nonimmigrant Visa

A TN Visa, also known as the nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional visa, is designed for professional workers from Canada and Mexico. This visa was created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for special economic and trade relationships that between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The TN visa is a temporary visa, this means that the person applying for it has no intention to permanently reside in the United States and must notify appropriate U.S.  immigration officials that their work will have a termination date and that they will depart the United States when their work is done. It should be stressed that a person with a TN visa may apply for unlimited renewals that are granted in increments of three-year periods.

On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMCA) took effect thus replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement, however this change has not changed the TN-Visa provisions under old NAFTA.


Who is eligible to apply for the TN Visa?

 Who is eligible to apply for the TN Visa?

Those that are eligible to apply for a TN visa must be citizens of Mexico or Canada that seek to apply for temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level. To perform a business activity at a professional level means that the person must have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree or appropriate credentials that demonstrates that the intending TN visa recipient’s status as a professional. The intending TN visa immigrant must be engaged in a trade or business of trading goods, services, or investment activities performed inside the of the United States. The following categories of licensed professions who are citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to apply for the TN Visa:

  • Accountant
  • Architect
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster
  • Economist
  • Engineer
  • Forester
  • Graphic Designer
  • Hotel Manager
  • Industrial Designer
  • Interior Designer
  • Land Surveyor
  • Landscape Architect
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Management Consultant
  • Mathematician
  • Range Manager/Range Conservationist
  • Research Assistant
  • Scientific Technician/Technologist
  • Social Worker
  • Silviculturist
  • Technical Publications Writer
  • Urban Planner
  • Vocational Counselor
  • Medical/Allied Professionals
  • Dentist
  • Dietician
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist/Medical Technologist
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist
  • Psychologist
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Veterinarian
  • Agriculturist
  • Animal Breeder
  • Animal Scientist
  • Apiculturist
  • Astronomer
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist
  • Chemist
  • Dairy Scientist
  • Entomologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Geneticist
  • Geochemist
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Horticulturalist
  • Meteorologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physicist
  • Plant Breeder
  • Poultry Scientist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Zoologist
  • College, Seminary, or University Teacher


TN Visa for Canadian Citizens

TN Visa for Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens applying for a TN visa that meet one of the professions listed above and is traveling to the United States for temporary business purposes has to complete the application for admission with a U.S. officer at a United States port of entry, such as an airport, where they must prove their Canadian citizenship by providing a valid passport. During this step the applicant also has to prove enough to satisfactorily satisfy the U.S. border officer that the TN visa applicant is seeking entry to engage in business at a professional level. The person can expect to present evidence such as documents from the prospective employer, degrees earned from credible institutions of higher education, anticipated length of stay and summary of job duties. If the Canadian citizen is traveling with their spouse or dependents, these relatives will not be required to have a visa, but they must prove their Canadian citizenship and prove their relationship with the TN nonimmigrant. The spouse or dependent will have to apply for admission at a United States port of entry. Like everyone else who comes to the U.S. border, they are seeking admission to enter.


TN visa for Mexican Citizens  

TN visa for Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens who are applying for a TN visa will also have to prove their Mexican citizenship which can be proved with a valid passport. However, the process is different than the steps that Canadian nationals have to take. Citizens of Mexico will have to schedule an appointment with the United States Consulate in Mexico and provide the proper documentation to satisfy the consular officer. Mexican citizens who are a spouse or dependents of a TN nonimmigrant holder will need a visa, unlike Canadian citizens.


Extension of Stay for Mexican and Canadian Citizens

Both Mexican and Canadian citizens under certain conditions can apply for an extension of stay in the United States. The first condition is that the individual must apply with the USCIS and pay the correct fee to request a stay extension. Second, the person must be in the United States under the TN nonimmigrant visa status, if the person is not in the United States, then they can request that USCIS notify the their consular’s home office. If the TN status extension is approved, it can be approved for a maximum of three years.


This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432| Portuguese (214) 272-3100

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