Living and Working in the US with a TN NAFTA Work Visa

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a reciprocal trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. It exists to facilitate trade between the three countries. As part of NAFTA, there have been certain allowances made to allow for freer movement of trained professionals and workers between the three countries. To this end, some workers may qualify to secure a TN NAFTA work visa, also known as a NAFTA TN visa, to temporarily work and live in the United States. As part of a similar agreement, workers from the United States may qualify for a Mexican work visa or a Canadian work visa to work in Mexico or Canada.

The NAFTA TN visa is only available to some Mexican and Canadian workers, not to workers in any other nations. The visa is also restricted to only certain professionals, known as NAFTA professionals. The government publishes a NAFTA Professional Job List, clearly listing which professionals currently qualify for the TN NAFTA work visa. The NAFTA TN visa is also only available for professionals who will be working for a US employer. This visa is not available for people who wish to set up their own business in the United States or who wish to work on a self-employment basis. There are special visas which already exist for entrepreneurs who wish to immigrate to the United States. In order to qualify for a NAFTA TN visa, an applicant must also be able to fill a US job which specifically requires NAFTA professionals. This can mean securing licensing specific to the United States or meeting certain US standards for the job or training requirements or language requirements.

Canadian citizens who wish to work in the United States as a NAFTA professional do not even need a visa. They do, however, require TN Status. Spouses and dependents of Canadian citizens working in the United States as NAFTA professionals will also require a dependency visa to enter and live in the United States. Canadian citizens who wish to enter the United States on a NAFTA TN visa can enter the United States by approaching a port of entry with a $50 fee, proof Canadian citizenship, proof of eligibility under licensing requirements, request for TN status admission, and an employment letter showing that professional employment opportunities have been extended. Applicants should also bring proof of professional qualifications.

Mexican NAFTA professionals require a TN NAFTA work visa and need to apply at a consulate for an interview in order to secure this visa. This visa must already be in place by the time the professional attempts to enter the United States for the job.