Learn About the TN Visa for Citizens of Canada and Mexico
Canada and Mexico are the nearest neighbors of the US and also some of the most important trade partners for the US. Therefore, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was created to facilitate trade between the trade countries. As part of NAFTA, some professionals from Canada and Mexico can travel to the US for work on a nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa. This temporary work visa allows some Canadian and Mexican citizens to take part in approved business activities in the US. Permanent residents of Mexico and Canada are not eligible to work in the US on a TN temporary work visa.
You may be eligible to work in the US on a TN visa if you:
- Are a citizen of Mexico or Canada
- Your field of work is on the list of NAFTA approved professions
- The position you will take in the US requires a NAFTA professional specifically
- You are a professional with the qualifications needed for your profession
- You are not self employed
- You have an agreement for a prearranged part-time or full-time job in the US with a US employer or business.
You must meet all of these requirements to be eligible for a TN visa. In addition, there are additional requirements, depending on whether you are a citizen of Mexico or Canada. For example, Canadian citizens can often apply for a TN visa at a port of entry and in some cases may not even need a visa. Mexican citizens, however, need a visa in all cases.
To apply for a TN visa, it is generally necessary to meet with a consular officer to determine eligibility and to set up an interview. A consulate or embassy interview is required for most applications between the ages of 14 and 79. As part of the application process, most applicants will need to get a digital fingerprint scan and will need to wait for a visa to become available. Visa wait times vary widely.
TN visa applicants also need to file the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (Form DS-160) and have a passport to travel to the US. The passport must be valid at least six months after the applicant is expected to return home. If you are applying in Canada or the US, you will also need one 2×2 photograph. All TN visa applicants will also require a letter from their US employer. This letter must meet specific requirements. For example, the letter should state the details of the job, the length of the job, the requirements of the job, evidence of compliance with all appropriate laws, and details about payment agreement.