TN Visa allows Canadians and Mexicans to work in the US in certain speciality occupations. Find out more about applying for the TN Visa.
If you are a national of Canada or Mexico and you want to come to the US to work, talk to our immigration lawyers on +1 844 290 6312.
How long is the TN Visa valid for?
If your TN Visa application is successful, you will be able to stay in the US for up to three years. After that period, it is possible to extend the visa for additional three years. Theoretically, it is possible to extend the visa indefinitely this way. In practice, however, getting a TN Visa extension is not that easy.
Even though a big proportion of TN Visas are granted for three years, US officials can determine the actual validity of your visa during the application process. How long your TN Visa will be valid depends on how long your employment in the US will last. That is why you should make sure that the employment dates indicated by the letter from your US employer are accurate.
What is the TN Visa?
The TN Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for NAFTA Professionals. NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement. It created trade and economic relationships between the US, Canada, and Mexico. Thanks to NAFTA, Canadian and Mexican professionals can come to the US to work.
When they arrive in the US, however, they have to engage in qualifying, prearranged jobs for the US or foreign employers. That means that their entry to the US is granted on the condition that they take part in business activities. Moreover, self-employed individuals do not qualify for this visa.
The general requirements for the TN Visa are:
- The applicant has to be a citizen of either Canada or Mexico
- The applicant has to be qualified in one of the accepted NAFTA professions
- The applicant can provide evidence showing that the job they want to perform in the US requires a NAFTA professional
- The applicant secured a job with a US employer prior to arriving in the country
- The applicant can show evidence showing that they meet the educational requirements for the job. NAFTA professions usually require a baccalaureate degree.
These requirements need to be met by all applicants. There are, however, additional conditions different for citizens of each of the two concerned countries.
Who is eligible for the TN Visa?
To be eligible for the TN Visa, applicants need to have citizenship in either Canada or Mexico. Permanent residents of these two countries cannot apply for the TN Visa. Moreover, the jobs that Canadian and Mexican professionals hope to engage in once in the US need to fall under the list of NAFTA professional categories. Some occupations considered to be professional under NAFTA include:
- Registered Nurses
- Computer System Analysts.
These are just several examples, however, as there are 60 professions that can make you eligible for the TN Visa. If you are not sure whether your job qualifies you for it, ask our immigration lawyers for advice.
What are the TN Visa requirements for Mexican citizens?
Mexican citizens must have the TN Visa to be admitted to the US to work. Unlike Canadian citizens, they have to formally apply for the TN Visa at a US Embassy or Consulate in Mexico. To do so, they need to:
- Complete the online visa application form, known as Form DS-160. Once you do it, you have to keep the confirmation page as you will need to bring it to your visa interview.
- Schedule a visa interview and prepare for it. The interview should take place at a US Embassy or Consulate in Mexico. It is possible to schedule it in another country but the application process can be more difficult then.
- Pay an application fee of $160.
- Gather required documentation. To your interview, you have to bring a valid passport, the Form DS-160 confirmation page, the receipt for the application fee, a letter from the US employer proving that you have a job secured.
- Attend the visa interview.
After receiving TN Visa approval, Mexican citizens can apply for entrance to the US at ports designated by US Customs and Border Protection.
What are the TN Visa requirements for Canadian citizens?
Typically, Canadian citizens do not need the TN Visa to come to the US to work in a NAFAT approved profession. Canadian citizens can establish their eligibility for the TN Visa without having to apply for it at a US Embassy or Consulate. Nevertheless, if an applicant wants to bring dependents to the US, then they have to have the TN Visa.
To apply for the TN Visa, Canadian citizens have to present the following documentation to US Customs and Border Protection:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship
- Letter from the employer in the US, which explains what the job is, how your qualifications meet the requirements for the job, and how long you will be required to stay in the US
- Credentials evaluation (if applicable).
It is also possible for your US employer to apply for your TN visa on your behalf. To do so, they have to file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and submit it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
What is the cost of the TN Visa?
Many of US non-immigrant work visas are very expensive. Luckily the cost of a TN Visa is not that high. If you decide to submit your application by mail, you will have to pay $555 I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker filing fee.
If you get your status at the point of entry to the US, the cost is much lower. You will need to pay $50 application fee and an additional $6 for the I-94 arrival card.
What is the processing time of the TN Visa?
The processing time of the TN Visa varies depending on where you are applying. If you apply at a port of entry to the US, the processing will most likely only take a few hours. If you are applying by mails, the processing time depends on the workload of the officials working at the USCIS service centre. Generally, it can take several months. If your application is urgent, you can pay for premium processing, which will shorten the wait to 15 business days.
If you pay for the premium service and the USCIS fails to process your application on time, you will receive a refund.
Can I bring dependents on the TN Visa?
If you want to bring your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21, they have to apply for a TD Visa for Immediate Relatives. This visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the family of a TN visa holder to come to the US with them. As it is a dependent visa, it is valid for as long as the TN visa of the person the relatives are joining.
Family members of Canadian citizens can apply for TD-1 visas and family members of Mexican citizens can apply for TD-2 visas. The TD visas can be renewed multiple times. In fact, there is no limit on how many times they can be renewed.
The main requirement for TD visas is the ability to prove the relationship with the holder of the TN visa. That can be done by submitting marriage or birth certificates.
How can Total Law help?
Our highly qualified lawyers will assess your eligibility for the TN Visa and will explain how you can apply for it depending on whether you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico. Our lawyers have expert knowledge of the US immigration system and will answer any questions you might have during the application process.
Thanks to our help you can make sure that you prepare all the required evidence and that your application is complete. This way, you will increase the chances of your application being accepted.
At Total Law, we also understand the importance of family and keeping your loved ones close. That is why, if you would like your family to join you in the US, we can advise on what the best track to do it would be.
If you want to find out more about how our immigration lawyers can help, call us today on +1 844 290 6312.
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Frequently Asked Questions
TN Visa is a nonimmigrant visa so it does not automatically lead to a green card. Still, it is possible for TN visa holders to obtain permanent resident status in the US. The process is complicated, however, as it requires first switching to a dual intent visa. Alternatively, you can go through a process of family-based immigration.
If you choose the first option, you can switch to one of three dual intent visa types:
After switching, the employer has to agree to sponsor you and file an employment-based green card on your behalf.
If you want to apply for a TN Visa, you will have to pay the application fee of $160. If you decide to submit your application by mail, you will have to pay $555 I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker filing fee.
TN Visa is only available to the citizens of Canada and Mexico. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the nationals of these two countries can come to the US to work in certain professions. There are 60 occupations approved by NAFTA and applicants need to have a job in the US secured before applying for the TN visa.
Applicants for the TN Visa need to be qualified in one of NAFTA approved professions, which requires them having completed a certain form of education. Often that means that they have to hold a bachelor’s degree, or a post-secondary diploma. It can, therefore, be challenging to get a TN visa without a degree as you might need it to be able to work in eligible professions.