TN Visa — North American Free Trade Agreement for Canadian and Mexican Citizens
The TN visa category is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to enter the United States to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis. There is no U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) limit on the number of workers granted TN status each year.
The TN visa category requires that the applicant:
NOTE: If a Canadian or Mexican citizen obtained his or her credentials in a country other than Canada, Mexico, or the U.S., USCIS may request that the alien obtain an equivalency evaluation from a reliable credential evaluation service. Refer to Academic Credentials.
For additional information about physicians, nurses, medical laboratory technologists/medical technologists, healthcare workers or management consultants, refer to Additional Information for Selected Occupations below.
Additional Information for Selected Occupations
The following occupations have additional criteria that must be met to qualify for a TN visa.
Length of Stay in the U.S.
Processing requirements differ for Canadians and Mexicans. Mexican citizens are required to obtain TN visas from a U.S. consulate before they can enter the U.S. in TN status. Canadian citizens are exempt from this requirement.
Your hiring department is responsible for paying the legal fees, filing fees, and costs associated with the foreign national. The foreign national is responsible for paying dependent and visa-related fees.
How to Apply for a TN Visa
U-M departments are responsible for preparing TN employer letters on behalf of Canadian or Mexican employees. Refer to the sample TN letter to help you with this process. If you have questions about the letter or TN application process, contact the International Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734.763.4081.
Most Canadians apply for TN status either at a pre-flight or port-of-entry inspection facility while entering the U.S. from Canada. The admission process for Canadian citizens includes:
The TN requirements for Mexican citizens are the same as for Canadian citizens except that Mexicans are also required to obtain a TN visa at a U.S. consulate. The application process includes an interview and an ink-free fingerprint scan. Interviews are generally by appointment only. For information about scheduling an appointment and other instructions, visit the U.S. Department of State Links to United States Embassies and Consulates Worldwide web site. For information about visa wait times, visit the U.S. Department of State Visa Wait Times web site.
Mexican citizens require the following documents:
Changing to TN Visa Status
If a Canadian or Mexican applicant is present in the U.S. in another visa status, he or she may choose to file an application with USCIS if he or she wishes to avoid travel to Canada or Mexico and re-entry. This process is much less time efficient. Most applicants choose to travel to the port-of-entry to obtain TN status.
To change visa status in the U.S., Canadian and Mexican citizens must provide the following documents:
The following documentation is needed to apply for a TN visa at a consulate or at a port-of-entry:
Dependents of TN status holders (spouses and children under 21) are admitted in TD (Trade Dependent) status. TD status holders are not authorized to work the U.S., but they may attend academic institutions either part or full-time.
Dependents of Canadian Citizens with Canadian Citizenship
Canadian citizens do not need visas. They can either apply for TD status at the port-of-entry at the same time as the TN or at a later time with copies of the TN's I-94 card and employment letter. They must show proof of relationship to the TN, as well as Canadian citizenship. There is no fee required for the TD application, but the I-94 card fee applies.
Dependents of Canadian Citizens Who Do Not Hold Canadian Citizenship
Dependents of Canadian citizens who do not hold Canadian citizenship are required to have TD visas. They must apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate prior to admission to the U.S. Their visa application should include the TN's letter of employment, copy of the TN's I-94 card (if already in the U.S.) and a copy of marriage or birth certificate. If they are already in the U.S. on a different nonimmigrant status, they may apply to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center for a change of status using Form I-539, with the above documentation enclosed.
Dependents of Mexican Citizens with Mexican Citizenship
Mexican citizen dependents of TNs require TD visas. They may apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate or they may apply for a change of status through the USCIS Nebraska Service Center following the same procedures as non-Canadian dependents of Canadian citizens. (See Dependents of Canadian Citizens who do not Hold Canadian Citizenship.)
Travel Outside the U.S. and Reentry
TN status holders may depart and re-enter the U.S. any time during their TN stay. Canadians should carry their original Form I-94. Mexican citizens, dependents, and non-Canadian dependents of Canadian TNs must carry a passport valid for six months into the future and a valid I-94 card in order to re-enter the U.S. following travel.
NOTE: Travel outside the U.S. while a change of status is pending is considered abandonment of the application.
Last reviewed: 10/08