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NAFTA Visas (TN)


TN status is available to those applicants who seek to engage in professions listed under NAFTA, provided they possess relevant education and/or work experience and that they are entering the U.S. for temporary period of time. TN category requires an offer of employment or an agreement to prearranged business services from a U.S. employer or contractor. The duration of stay in TN status must not exceed one (1) year, but extensions are allowed without a limit for total time spent in TN status.
Q: What are the professions for which TN status is available?

A: TN status is available for 65 professions listed in Appendix to NAFTA agreement. Most of these professions require a baccalaureate or a licenciatura degree, or in some instances, a post-secondary (two-year) diploma.

Q: What are the advantages of TN category in comparison with H-1B?

A: At this time, the most obvious advantage is absence of quota on TNs, unlike H-1Bs. There are other advantages as well: no limit on total number of years one may remain in TN status, more expeditious application procedure at ports of entry, which if properly documented may be overall easier than H-1B petition and visa application procedure, and availability of TN status, even if one has not completed two-year home residency requirement.

Q: Do I need to obtain an educational evaluation to show that my Canadian or Mexican degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree?

A: Degrees from Canadian or Mexican educational establishments generally do not require an educational evaluation. Degrees from countries other than Canada or Mexico, even acquired by Canadian or Mexican nationals do require educational evaluation for admission in TN status.

Q: How can I extend TN status? Can TN status be extended without leaving the U.S.?

A: There are two ways to extend TN status: through application to USCIS Service Center, or by re-applying for admission as TN at the border, with appropriate documentary evidence.

Q: Can I add or change employer under TN?

A: Yes, but your petition/application must be approved before commencing employment.

Q: What if I’m transferred to a branch office of my company? Do I need to file a new petition?

A: No. New petition is not required if you are transferred to a branch of the same organization, as long as you are performing same services. If, however, you are transferred to a subsidiary or an affiliate of your current employer, which exists as a separate legal entity, you must request a change of employer.

Q: Is self-employment allowed for TNs?

A: No. Self-employment is expressly prohibited.