Professionals from Canada & Mexico (TN-1, TN-2)

Professionals, who are citizens of Mexico or Canada, in addition to possibly qualifying for H-1B status, may also qualify for TN (Treaty National ) status based upon the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canadians who qualify for TN status are given the classification TN-1. Mexicans who qualify for TN status are given the classification TN-2.

General Requirements

The TN applicant must demonstrate that he/she is:

  • A Canadian or Mexican citizen
  • Coming to the U.S. to work for an employer in one of the enumerated occupations in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA treaty
  • Possesses the requisite education, licensure and/or work experience set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA treaty to assume one of the permissible occupations

A Bachelor’s degree or higher is generally required for most of the enumerated occupations. Some of the occupations allow qualifying work experience in lieu of required education. Generally, all foreign degrees must be evaluated to determine if equivalent to a U.S. degree.

TN Processing Procedures for Canadians

Outside the U.S. – Border Application

Canadians may submit their application for TN classification directly at the airport or designated border crossing. After approval the applicant receives a Form I-94 stamp as proof of lawful TN admission.

Inside the U.S. – Change of Status

If the Canadian applicant is inside the United States in another visa classification, the applicant must apply for a change of status with the USCIS. The applicant may not commence employment in TN status until the change of status application is approved. Upon approval of the application, the USCIS issues a Form I-797, Approval Notice.

TN Processing Procedures for Mexicans

Outside the U.S. – Visa Application

Mexicans must submit a TN-2 visa application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After visa issuance, the applicant must apply for entry at a U.S. border post or at the U.S. airport upon arrival in the U.S. The applicant receives a Form I-94 stamp as proof of lawful TN admission.

Inside the U.S. – Change of Status

If the Mexican applicant is inside the United States in another visa classification, the applicant must apply for a change of status with the USCIS. The applicant may not commence employment in TN status until the change of status application is approved. Upon approval of the application, the USCIS issues a Form I-797, Approval Notice.

Time Limits on TN Status

TN classification is granted in increments up to 3 years. There is no limit to the number of times a TN may be extended. Extensions of TN status for Canadian nationals may be submitted either at a border port of entry, airport or the USCIS.

Mexican nationals may only extend their TN status through application for a new TN-2 visa at an overseas U.S. embassy or consulate or with the USCIS.

Dependents and Benefits

Spouses and all unmarried children under 21-years old may receive TD status even if they are not Canadian or Mexican citizens. If the spouse and children are Canadian citizens, they must provide proof of citizenship and relation to the TN applicant. The spouse and children will receive TD status.

If the spouse and children are not Canadian citizens, they may be required to apply for a visa prior to admission.