The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are: accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
General Qualifications of a TN Professional
To qualify for TN classification, the individual must:
- Demonstrate citizenship of Canada or Mexico;
- Provide evidence of a full or part-time job offer from a U.S. employer in a NAFTA profession; AND
- Hold the specific credentials required by the profession under the NAFTA agreement. (See full list here)
Employers of TN workers must be willing to provide an employment offer letter detailing items such as: the professional nature of the position, the purpose of the employment, the anticipated length of the worker’s stay, and the worker’s qualifications for the position.
Terms and Conditions of TN Status
A TN worker may not be self-employed, and may only work for the employer, and in the position, for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted. This status in the U.S. may be granted for up to three years at a time. Unlike the H-1B category, there is no limit to the number of extensions a worker may be granted.
Family of TN Professionals
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the derivative TD nonimmigrant category. This category does not provide work authorization.