The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was an agreement signed in 1994 between the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The purpose of the treaty was to create special economic and trade relationships between these countries, including the influx of professionals from one to another. 

In this article, you will understand what the TN status stands for.  

What Does TN Status Stand For? – The Verdict 

The acronym “TN” refers to the “Trade NAFTA” visa, which is a nonimmigrant classification available exclusively for Canadian and Mexican nationals who work in specific professional areas. 

The government of the United States created this visa option for citizens from countries under the former NAFTA, which was eventually replaced by the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement in September 2018.  

Several professional categories are eligible for TN visas. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has specific rules to determine the eligibility of applicants. To qualify for a TN visa, the applicant must: 

  • Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico  
  • Work in a qualifying profession under the regulations 
  • Be offered a position that requires a NAFTA professional  
  • Have a prearranged job with a US employer (either full or part-time job) 
  • Have the necessary qualifications to practice the profession in question 

Please note that self-employment positions are not eligible for TN visas. Currently, sixty NAFTA professions are qualifying for TN status, including accounting, engineering, law, pharmacy, dentistry, chemistry, science, and teaching.  

Applying for a TN Visa with USCIS – Full Overview  

The primary requirements to obtain a TN visa are working in a profession eligible for the category and submitting proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship. When providing proof of citizenship, TN applicants must also submit a valid passport and other supporting documentation. 

It is fundamental to note that the TN visa is not available for permanent residents living in Canada or Mexico, as only citizens of these countries have eligibility for TN status. After meeting the basic requirements, the applicant needs a prearranged job offer in the United States. 

The job offer can be a full-time or part-time job with a US employer or a foreign employer within a legal entity registered in the United States. The last requirement is demonstrating to have the qualifications to work in the profession stated in the application. 

If applicable, TN applicants may rely on bachelor’s or master’s degrees to provide they meet the educational requirements in their respective fields of expertise. Canadian citizens have two options to obtain a TN visa, which are: 

  • Applying directly at a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry or pre-flight inspection station, or 
  • Filing Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) with USCIS 

On the other hand, Mexican citizens must file Form I-129 and submit it with supporting documentation to a local US Embassy or Consulate. After going through the applicable procedures (including an interview), successful TN applicants from Mexico have permission to enter the United States.  

Please note that TN applicants cannot self-petition for a visa with USCIS, as a US employer must apply on their behalf. Once they receive approval notice for Form I-129, it is possible to apply for admission.  

Are You Interested in Applying for a TN NAFTA Visa? – 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.