A TN (Trade Nation) visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows professionals from Canada and Mexico to work in the U.S. It was established under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) but is now governed by USMCA (the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement).
If you want to know more about the TN visa, this guide is for you. This guide discusses everything you need to know about the TN visa so that you can know what to expect when you apply.
What is a TN visa?
If you are wondering, “What is TN visa?” ask no more. This is a non-immigrant visa allowing Mexican and Canadian citizens to enter the United States temporarily for employment purposes.
Who qualifies for a TN visa?
Now that you know what a TN visa is, you need to know who qualifies for the visa. To qualify for a TN visa, you need to meet the following criteria:
- Citizenship: You must be a citizen of Mexico or Canada
- Work: You must work in a pre-arranged part-time or full-time job
- Qualifications: You must have the educational credentials or experience required for the position
- Profession: You must engage in a profession that is listed under Appendix 16-A of the USMCA or Appendix 2 of NAFTA
- Job Offer: You must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, and the position you are leaving your country to fill must be listed on the NAFTA list
What professions qualify for a TN visa?
You can apply for a TN visa if you are moving to the United States to secure employment in one of the professions listed in Appendix 16-A of USMCA or Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of NAFTA, including:
- Graphic Designers
- Management Consultants
- Computer System Analysts
- Medical Professionals (e.g., veterinarians, pharmacists, and dentists)
Before you apply for it, ensure that you understand the question of “what is a TN visa”, and review the specific professions listed under Appendix 16-A of USMCA or Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of NAFTA to ensure eligibility.
How To Apply For A TN Visa
If you are a Canadian citizen, you need to know what a TN visa is and present the required documents to a CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer. These include:
- Proof of citizenship
- Any applicable fees
- A letter from your prospective U.S. employer
Alternatively, your potential employer can complete the application on your behalf by submitting a Form I-129 petition to the USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services). Once the Form I-129 petition has been approved, you can apply to be admitted to the U.S.
You must present the following documents to a CBP officer at a pre-flight inspection station or a designated port of entry:
- Proof of citizenship; and
- The approval notice for your Form I-129 petition.
If you are a Mexican citizen, you can apply for a TN visa online. This is a multi-step process that involves:
- Completing a Form DS-160;
- Attaching a photo to accompany the form;
- Printing the Form DS-160 confirmation page;
- Scheduling an interview at the embassy or consulate;
- Paying an application fee for your TN visa.
You will need to present the following documents when you show up for your interview:
- Your employment letter;
- The Form DS-160 confirmation page;
- The receipt you received after paying the application fee; and
- Your passport, which must be valid for travel to the United States for six months beyond your work stay.
How long can you stay in the U.S. on a TN visa?
TN visas are granted for a maximum of three years; however, you can extend your TN visa in three-year increments by requesting your employer to file a Form I-129 petition with USCIS or departing the U.S. and requesting a new TN visa like you did the first time.
Your employer cannot file a Form I-129 petition six months until the end of your current TN visa. Additionally, processing times for extending your TN visa can take anywhere from two to seven months.
If you choose to re-apply for TN status, you can do so at a port of entry. Instead of waiting for the USCIS to approve the extension petition, you leave the United States, head toward another port of entry, and follow the same application process you initially did.
What can you expect after arriving in the U.S.?
After arriving in the United States with your TN visa, there are several opportunities that can open up to you. You can apply for a TD visa for your spouse, transition from a TN visa to an H1B visa, or transition from a TN visa to a Green Card.
Here are some of the benefits of having a TN visa
They are valid for years. When the three years are up, you can extend the visa in three-year increments as long as you satisfy all the requirements.
2. Dual Intent
As a TN visa holder, you can pursue other opportunities, such as an H1B visa or a Green Card, without jeopardizing your non-immigrant status.
Your significant other and your unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany you to the United States.
4. Job Mobility
You can change employers within the same profession without having to file a new petition as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
Disadvantages Of The TN Visa
Unfortunately, the TN Visa has some setbacks. Here are some of them.
This is limited to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It is only valid for workers in Canada and Mexico and does not grant visas to individuals in other countries.
Even though your spouse or children are allowed to accompany you to the United States, they are not eligible for work and will have to leave the U.S. when your TN visa expires.
The TN visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it only provides temporary residence in the U.S.
Apply For A TN Visa Today
If you are a Mexican or Canadian citizen, a TN visa offers a great opportunity to work in the U.S. Before you apply for it, you need to know what a TN visa is. You also need to understand the qualifications, professions covered, the application process, visa duration, expectations after landing in the U.S., and the benefits and disadvantages of the TN visa. Understanding these things can help you breeze through the application process and know what to expect once you become a TN holder.