National Immigration Project


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provides a relaxed provision only for Canadian and Mexican nationals to enter the U.S. to engage in certain business "activities at a professional level." This special provision is called TN classification status. The complete list of these occupations can be accessed at Nafta Sec Alena. To qualify for TN classification, an individual must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and seek temporary entry to the U.S. to engage in business "activities at a professional level." The foreign national must intend to stay only temporarily in the U.S.

The basic requirements under NAFTA are the same for both Canadians and Mexicans. However, there are different procedural guidelines for Canadian and Mexican nationals to obtain the TN visa status.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa. You may establish eligibility for TN classification at the time you seek admission to the United States by presenting required documentation:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship;
  • Letter from your prospective employer detailing items such as the professional capacity in which you will work in the United States, the purpose of your employment, your length of stay, and your educational qualifications; and
  • Credentials evaluation (if applicable), together with any applicable fees.

Please refer to CBP’s website for additional information and requirements for applying for admission to the United States.

Mexican Citizens

If you are a Mexican citizen, then you are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. You should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. See the U.S. Department of State webpage, "Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Worker."

Family Members

The TN holder's spouse and unmarried children, who are under twenty-one (21) years of age, admitted in TN non-immigrant status are eligible for the TD non-immigrant visa. The spouse and children are not authorized to work in the U.S. in TD visa status.

Validity Period

The TN visa status is valid for one year and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the primary holder continues to meet the TN qualifications.

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 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to obtain and enter the U.S. under the B-1, E-1, H-1, L-1 and TN visa categories

At The Ahluwalia Firm, Our Emphasis is on
  • Providing zealous representation before the USCIS
  • Providing careful review of your personal circumstances
  • Providing careful coordination of all correspondence with government agencies
  • Ensuring a service-delivery model that meets and exceeds your satisfaction

For additional information about our immigration attorneys ability to help, prepare, and file all the necessary documents required to apply for TN classifications, contact us for reliable advice.

Source: USCIS Website

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