A TN Visa is a special nonimmigrant business immigration visa available to citizens of Canada and Mexico. Citizens of Canada and Mexico are able to apply for TN status to legally work in the United States in certain professional occupations as indicated on the TN professional job list.
TN Visa holders are able to work for a company located in the U.S. for a temporary period. In the event that they work for a foreign company in Mexico or Canada and there is a specific project which requires them to work within the U.S. for a U.S. company, they can also apply for a TN visa to work on that project.
The first and probably most important aspect of qualifying for a TN business immigration visa is that the applicant must hold Canadian or Mexican citizenship.
The next important step is ensuring that you have a US corporation sponsoring your employment, or are employed foreign company that is providing services to a U.S. Company.
The third and equally important step at qualifying for a TN immigration visa is to ensure that you are employed in a professional capacity limited to the TN professional job list. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration attorney regarding this third requirement as there are a wide range of responsibilities that fall under the TN immigration visa’s job categories.
The fourth requirement for obtaining a TN business immigration visa is that the Mexican or Canadian Citizen possess the requisite education or degree for their particular occupation as indicated on the TN professional job list.
Most TN jobs on the TN professional job list require at least a Bachelor’s Degree. There are some jobs listed which also require licensure in addition to a degree. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney to determine if your credentials require both a degree and licensure.
If you are planning to apply for TN visa status for a healthcare occupation as indicated on the TN professional job list, please consult with an immigration attorney experience in processing these types of cases as there are additional requirements for these positions.
TN visa applicants are usually granted time limits in one (1) to three (3) year increments. The length of time granted varies and may depend on a variety of factors such as passport validity, visa validity, previous TN visa status, lack of previous TN visa status, or length of work contracts.
In addition, it is important for TN visa applicants to remember that TN visas are nonimmigrant visas, which means that the person must not have the intent to immigrate to the U.S. and must intend to depart the U.S. at the conclusion of their lawful stay.
Despite this, TN visa holders are able to apply for TN Extension if so required. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyer has successfully processed TN visa extensions at both the border with CBP as well as with the USCIS service centers.
Although the TN visa is available to both Canadian and Mexican citizens, there are different application requirements for Canadian and Mexican Citizens.
Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa to obtain TN visa status. If you are a Canadian citizen seeking TN working visa then can provide your application to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at a designated U.S. port of entry. You can also apply at a pre-flight inspection station. Please note the following documents must be provided at the time of application:
In the alternative an employer also may file an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant worker with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services for TN status. This process takes usually around four to six months under standard processing times and If USCIS approves Form I-129, you, then you have the option of again applying with a CBP officer at a border or pre-flight clearance station prior to entry.
Filing for a TN extension with the Service is a great way for those already in TN status to extend their stay without having to arrange for travel outside of the country. If you are currently on TN status we encourage to contact our qualified immigration attorney to discuss your options for extending your I-94 without having to book a costly flight back to Canada.
For citizens of Mexico who wish to apply for a TN Visa they must apply for a directly at a U.S. Embassy or consulate in Mexico. All Mexican citizens are required to obtain visas prior to entry into the U.S. Documents you should bring to your consular interview include:
If you are approved for a TN visa by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico then you may apply for entry to the U.S. by border or flight. Upon entry a CBP officer will request your visa and information regarding your stay and make a subsequent determination regarding entry.
If you have been approved for a TN visa and have encountered issues entering the U.S. please contact our office for a free consultation with a qualified immigration lawyer who can provide you with further assistance in your case.
Spouses and children (unmarried children under the age of 21) who are accompanying or following to join NAFTA Professionals (TN visa holders) may receive a derivative status called a TD visa.
There is no requirement that the dependents hold Canadian or Mexican Citizenship, they only must provide proof of their relationship to the principal TN visa holder. Spouses and children cannot work while in the U.S.; however, they are permitted to study.
Spouses and children of Canadian citizens who are also themselves Canadian citizens do not need a visa. However if the spouse is a citizen of another country there may be a visa requirement to obtain the TD Visa Status.
Please contact a local immigration attorney to find out if your spouse requires a visa. In order to obtain the TD visa, the following documents should be presented upon pre-flight inspection or at port of entry:
Spouses and children of Mexican citizens are required to apply for the TD visa at their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico.
In order to obtain the TD visa, the following documents should be presented to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico:
If your spouse or child is approved by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico for a TD Visa then they may apply for entry to the U.S. by border or flight. Upon entry a CBP officer will request their visa make a subsequent determination regarding entry.
A TN visa is very similar to that of the H-1B Visa, however there are no annual caps on TN Visas.
Unfortunately the TN visa is not a “dual intent” visa which means that the visa holder must prove their intent not to immigrate to the U.S. Despite this fact, it does not bar a TN visa holder from applying for a green card.
One of the most important factors to consider when considering applying for Permanent Residency as a TN visa holder is the amount of time you have remaining in TN Status.
The first steps in employment based immigration involve the PERM Labor Certification and I-140. Having an immigrant petition filed or approved does not constitute immigrant intent. As such a TN holder can have an approved I-140.
Processing times for immigrant petitions vary. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer familiar with filing Green Card applications for TN visa holders. The last and final step of the green card process all depends on your priority date and visa availability.
The final step of the green card process, which is the I-485 Adjustment of Status may cause issues for the TN visa holder. It isn’t until an actual I-485 is filed that a TN visa holder becomes ineligible for TN status.
Nevertheless there additional filings that can be submitted with the I-485 that make it possible for a TN visa applicant to travel and work in the event they are unable to renew TN status.
Our firm has extensive experience in the processing of TN business immigration visas both with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and with the CBP. Located in Orange County our office provides us with convenience as we are located only two hours away from the U.S./Mexico border.
We have provided immigration legal services to both Canadian and Mexican citizens seeking entry at the Tijuana border. We have proudly represented foreign nationals seeking TN visa status in Irvine, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Tustin, Orange for stateside extension which are granted by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. Please contact our office for a free consultation. For more info visit TN Visa FAQ’s.