North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States (U.S.), Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the U.S. in a prearranged business activity for a U.S. or foreign employer. Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.
Professionals of Canada or Mexico may work in the U.S. under the following conditions:
Note: The application requirements for citizens of Canada and Mexico, shown below are different.
Canadian citizens usually do not need a visa as a NAFTA Professional, although a visa can be issued to qualified TN visa applicants upon request. A Canadian citizen without a TN visa can apply at a U.S. port of entry. Learn about requirements and more on theU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Canadian citizens can also review information regarding TN visas through U.S. Embassy Ottawa's website.
When Does a Canadian NAFTA Professional Need a Visa? A Canadian residing in another country with a non-Canadian spouse and child would need a visa to enable the spouse and child to be able to apply for a visa to accompany or join the NAFTA Professional, as a TD visa holder. Canadians applying for a visa will follow the same documentation requirements as shown in the sections Mexican Citizens, Applying for a TN Visa, and Required Documentation.
Mexican citizens require a visa to request admission to the U.S. (A USCIS approved petition is not required.)
NAFTA applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a NAFTA Professional Worker (TN) visa under immigration law. The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa. Applicants may apply at consular sections around the world for a NAFTA professional (TN) visa. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required for visa applicants from age 14 to 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Making your appointment for an interview is the first step in the visa application process. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available on our website at Visa Wait Times, and on most U.S. Embassy or Consulate websites.Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay the fees and any other instructions.
During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Some visa applications require furtheradministrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant's interview by a Consular Officer.
Each applicant for a TN visa must adhere to the procedure as explained below:
Applicants must show their intended stay is temporary, without the intent to establish permanent residence. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they have the following:
Requirements for NAFTA professional do not include licensure. Licensure to practice a given profession in the U.S. is a post-entry requirement subject to enforcement by the appropriate state or other sub-federal authority.
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 TD visa. Applicants must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or parent-child relationship to the principal TN visa holder. Dependents do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canada. Spouses and children cannot work while in the U.S. They are permitted to study.
For a complete list of professions with minimum education requirements and alternative credentials, see the NAFTA webpage, Appendix 1603.D.1 With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement. If a baccalaureate is required, experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative criteria to a bachelor's degree is listed. For some professions, experience is required in addition to the degree.
Attempting to obtain a visa by the willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or fraud, may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the U.S. Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas, provides important information about ineligibilities.
Certain activities can make you ineligible for a U.S. visa. The Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-156, lists classes of persons who are ineligible under U.S. law to receive visas. In some instances an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly classifiable as a visitor, may apply for a waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver is approved. Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas provides important information about ineligibilities, by reviewing sections of the law taken from the immigration and Nationality Act.
If the consular officer should find it necessary to deny the issuance of a TN visa, the applicant may apply again if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. For additional information, select Denials to learn more.
Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S. The visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a port-of-entry in the U.S., such as an international airport, a seaport or a land border crossing, and request permission to enter the U.S. CBP, U.S. immigration inspector will permit or deny admission to the U.S., and determine your length of stay in the U.S., on any particular visit. Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted, is validated by the immigration official. Form I-94, which documents your authorized stay in the U.S., is very important to keep in your passport. Additionally, as a Mexican citizen seeking entry as a NAFTA professional, you must present evidence of professional employment to satisfy the Immigration Officer of your plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level. To find out more detailed information about admissions and entry in the U.S., select Admissions to go to the CBP website.
Visitors who wish to stay beyond the date indicated on their Form I-94 are required to have approval by USCIS. See Extend Your Stay on the USCIS website.
Some nonimmigrant visa holders, while present in the U.S., are able to file a request which must be approved by USCIS to change to another nonimmigrant category. See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website.
Important Note: Filing a request with USCIS for approval of change of status before your authorized stay expires, while you remain in the U.S., does not by itself require the visa holder to apply for a new visa. However, if you cannot remain in the U.S. while USCIS processes your change of status request, you will need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.