USMCA Professional (TN) Visa Classification for Canadian and Mexican Nationals

The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, popularly known as USMCA, serves as a significant trade agreement between these three countries. One of its provisions is to facilitate the temporary employment of qualified Canadian and Mexican professionals in the United States.

Eligibility Criteria:

Job Offer: Any applicant must have a formal job offer from a U.S. employer. This offer should be in line with the professional business activities stipulated in the USMCA provisions.

Temporary Stay: The intent of the applicant must be to stay in the U.S. on a temporary basis, even if they intend to renew their status multiple times.

For a detailed list of professions that qualify under this agreement, one can refer to the official U.S. State Department page.

Specific Procedures Based on Nationality:

Canadian Citizens:

Application Process: Canadians have the advantage of applying for the TN status directly at a U.S. port of entry. This means they typically don’t need to secure a visa in advance from a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Required Documentation:

  • Proof of Canadian Citizenship: Typically, a valid Canadian passport serves this purpose.
  • Job Offer Letter: This letter, provided by the U.S. employer, should detail the specific role, the nature and purpose of employment, the intended duration of stay, and the educational qualifications or credentials that make the applicant eligible for the position.
  • Credentials Evaluation: If the role demands specific certifications or educational qualifications, an evaluation of these credentials may be needed, especially if they are not from U.S. institutions.

Mexican Citizens:

Unlike their Canadian counterparts, Mexican citizens must undergo a more traditional visa application process.

Visa Application: They need to secure a TN visa by applying at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. This process involves an interview and providing the necessary documentation, similar to other U.S. nonimmigrant visa procedures.

Further details can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s webpage dedicated to NAFTA Professional Workers.

Family Members of TN Visa Holders:

Family members, specifically the spouse and unmarried children (below 21 years of age), of a TN visa holder, can accompany them to the U.S. They would be classified under the TD non-immigrant visa status.

It’s essential to note that while they can live in the U.S., they are not authorized to undertake employment on a TD visa.

Validity and Renewals:

Initially, the TN visa is granted for a period of one year. However, one of its advantages is that it can be renewed indefinitely, provided the visa holder continues to fulfill the eligibility criteria and the U.S. employer continues to extend their employment.

Evidentiary Requirements for the TN Classifications

  • Evidence that the applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • Detailed letter from the U.S. prospective employer explaining the nature of the professional activity for which the applicant is seeking admission to the U.S.
  • Evidence showing the applicant has the requisite college degree, which is equivalent to a college degree in the U.S.
  • If the job requires a license or other permit to practice in the U.S., a copy of the employee’s license or permit.

It should be noted that Canadian and Mexican nationals enjoy special procedural rules under The USMCA to obtain and enter the U.S. under the B-1, E-1, H-1, L-1 and TN visa categories.


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