Moore & Van Allen Law Firm, Attorneys

TN 1: PROFESSIONAL WORKER UNDER NAFTA

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TN 1: PROFESSIONAL WORKER UNDER NAFTA

The TN visa category is available to Canadian and Mexican citizens pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The visa classification grants temporary entry to Canadian and Mexican citizens who are engaging in business activities at a professional level. NAFTA defines “business activities at a professional level” as undertakings which require that the individual have at least a bachelor degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional within specific professions listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA.

The TN visa potentially allows for an indefinite duration of authorized stay in the U.S. A TN visa can be approved for a maximum initial period of stay of 3 years, and an extension of stay may be authorized in increments of no more than 3 years. As there is no statutory limitation on the number of years an applicant may hold TN status, the visa and status may be renewed for similar terms indefinitely so long as conditions of eligibility continue to be met, and the applicant maintains nonimmigrant intent (i.e. the nature of their stay in the U.S. is temporary).

Family members of TN workers (spouses and children under age 21) may be granted TD visa status to accompany the TN worker to the U.S. TD dependents are not eligible to work in the U.S.

The filing procedure for the TN visa varies based upon the applicant’s nationality. Canadian citizens are visa‑exempt and therefore not required to apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate. A Canadian citizen can appear at Class A port of entry, a U.S. airport handling international traffic or a U.S. pre‑flight inspection station and submit the application for the TN directly to the Free Trade Officer at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The officer will review all of the documentation which typically includes an offer letter from the U.S. company and evidence of the applicants qualifications (degree certificate, training certificates, employment verification letters, etc.) The officer will then make an adjudication immediately, in advance of the applicant’s admission to the U.S.

A Mexican citizen seeking TN status must appear at a U.S. Consulate to apply for the TN visa. All required documentation is reviewed by the Consular Officer and the visa is then granted in the applicant’s passport. Due to current reciprocity agreements between the U.S. and Mexican governments, TN visas for Mexican citizens can only be issued for a period of 1 year. While the Consulate can only issue a visa stamp valid for one year, the TN worker is eligible for a 3-year period of stay upon entry to the U.S.