The TN visa was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, U.S. and Mexico. In 2020, NAFTA was renegotiated and is now known as the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). Under the TN visa, Canadian and Mexican citizens may work in a professional occupation in the U.S. if:
- He/she qualifies under the TN Occupation List under Appendix 1306.d.1 of NAFTA Chapter 16;
- He/she possesses the specific criteria for that profession;
- The employment position in the U.S. requires someone in that professional capacity and;
- He/she is going to work for a U.S. employer
Advantages of a TN visa
TN visas are valid for three years, whereas they were previously only valid for year at a time. This means that the TN visa is valid for the same duration as an H-1B visa.
TN visas are also easier to apply for, and to have approved, than other work visas such as the H-1B visa. There are three ways to apply for a TN visa:
- In person at a Class A port of entry (POE) to the United States
- By submitting an application to the USCIS while in the United States
- By submitting an application to the USCIS from abroad
TN application through a Port of Entry versus USCIS
Applying at a POE has its advantages. First, the application fee is considerably lower than applying through USCIS. Second, a decision to grant or to deny the visa is made immediately. On the other hand, applying for a TN visa through the USCIS may take a couple of months. If the applicant is denied a TN visa at the POE, he/she learns the reason for denial right away and may attempt to correct it immediately. If the TN visa is denied by the USCIS, it takes a lot longer – and more money – to obtain a favorable decision. Further, the applicant may be required to leave the United States during the pendency of the application.
TN visas for management consultants
Most of the TN professions require at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. One exception is the Management Consultant category, which will accept five years of work experience in the intended field of employment in lieu of a bachelor’s degree. Instead of full or part-time employment, management consulting services are based on a temporary, periodic or fixed consulting nature. Learn more about how to qualify as a TN Management Consultant.
Canadians who intend to remain in the United States long term, or who want to consider having their employer sponsor them for a green card, should consider applying for an H-1B visa.
Our TN Visa Legal Services
Our services include: determining whether a proposed position falls with the NAFTA occupation list; determining whether the TN applicant meets the education or experience criteria for TN status; preparing the employer support letter and all accompanying evidence; and preparing the applicant for the TN interview at the port of entry.
Canadians In USA
Learn more about visa and green card options for Canadians at our companion website Canadians In USA.
Email us if you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen who wants to apply for a TN visa.