The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers several options for temporary worker visas. Each category has specific requirements that applicants must meet to qualify, and different categories have pros and cons on their own.  

Is the TN status better than H-1B? Read on to find out.  

TN NAFTA Visa vs. H-1B Visa – The Fundamentals  

TN nonimmigrant classification allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to be admitted to the United States temporarily to engage in business activities at a professional level.  

USCIS has a list of professionals eligible to seek admission under TN status, including accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, and scientists. To qualify for TN status, the applicant must: 

  • Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico 
  • Be a professional qualified under the regulations 
  • Have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a US employer 
  • Have the qualifications to practice the profession in question 

Conversely, the H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification applied to foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States to perform services in specialty occupations. A “specialty occupation” is an occupation that requires: 

  • “Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and 
  • Attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States” 

In such cases, a US employer must file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and submit Form ETA-9035/9035E, Labor Condition Application (LCA).  

Is TN Better than H1B? – A Realistic Overview 

USCIS does not restrict the number of times TN status can be renewed, but the period of stat under H-1B status generally cannot go beyond a total of six years (with a few exceptions under sections 104(c) and 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act. 

The TN NAFTA visa is restricted exclusively to Canadian and Mexican citizens, which automatically makes the H-1B a better option for temporary “specialty” workers from other countries.  

USCIS also has a limit of TN visas for Mexican citizens, which is restricted to 5,500 visas each year. This restriction does not apply to Canadian citizens. Another advantage of the TN status reserved for Canadians is the possibility to obtain a visa directly at the border. 

A Canadian citizen can seek admission to the United States under TN status by establishing his or her classification and presenting the required documents to a US Customers and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated US ports of entry or a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. 

The TN status is available for applicants that may not qualify for H-1B status, especially those working in professions that do not necessarily require a bachelor’s degree.  

Conversely, many Canadian or Mexican citizens that fail to qualify for TN status because their profession is not part of the USCIS occupation list may be able to qualify for an H-1B visa. The TN visa does not allow applicants to use the professional experience as an equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, but H-1B applicants have this option available. 

Is TN Better than H1B? – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance 

Waste no time with uncertainty. Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find the best immigration strategy for your case.