The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offer a unique alternative for Canadian and Mexican nationals seeking to enter the United States legally. Based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TN nonimmigrant visa is an excellent option for professionals working in certain categories. 

In this article, you will discover the pros and cons of TN status. 

TN NAFTA Visa – Understanding the Concept 

The TN nonimmigrant classification allows eligible citizens of Canada or Mexico to be admitted to the United States to temporarily engage in business activities at a professional level. To qualify for a TN visa, an applicant must: 

  • Be a Canadian or Mexican citizen  
  • Have a profession qualified under USCIS regulations  
  • Have a US job offer in a position that requires a NAFTA professional 
  • Have all the required qualifications to practice the profession stated in the application 

Please note that TN NAFTA visa applicants cannot apply based on self-employment, as they need to have a “prearranged full-time or part-time job with a US employer.” The initial period of stay under TN status can go up to three years.  

Applicants interested in remaining in the United States beyond the initial period of stay without necessarily departing from the country must apply for an extension of stay with USCIS.  

TN workers already living in the United States need a US employer to file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) on their behalf. Conversely, a TN worker can depart from the country before the visa expiration date and apply for re-admission abroad.  

Pros and Cons of TN Status – A Realistic Overview 

One of the key advantages of TN status is the ease to obtain a visa as a Canadian. Applicants from Canada do not need a petition, as they can apply for a visa directly at: 

  • A US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated US ports of entry, or  
  • A designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station 

This expedited procedure automatically eliminates the time-consuming process required for most temporary work visas. Please note that the same standard does not apply to Mexican citizens, as they must apply at a US Embassy or Consulate.  

Another advantage is the possibility to renew the TN visa indefinitely, as there is no limit to the number of extensions. Additionally, the TN visa is available for some professions that do not necessarily qualify for other temporary work visas, such as the H-1B classification. 

USCIS regulations do not restrict the number of Canadian citizens entering the United States, but the number of Mexican citizens allowed to gain TN status is restricted to 5,500 applicants each year. 

Conversely, the major drawback of the TN visa is the restriction of the visa to two specific countries. Another disadvantage is that TN status is restricted only to qualifying professions and applicants cannot use professional experience to demonstrate they have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. 

Do You Want to Obtain a TN NAFTA Visa? – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance 

The TN NAFTA status has complex regulations that are not easy to navigate without the guidance of a legal advisor. Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find the best immigration strategy for your case.