Canadian Immigration News

Applying for a TN Visa: What You Need to Know

2.5 minute read
"Canada, Mexico, and the United States have a special trade agreement to allow qualified nationals to temporarily work in the participating countries. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the basis for the TN NAFTA Professionals Visa. The TN Visa allows Canadian and Mexican nationals (citizens or permanent residents) to work and stay in the US for up to 3 years."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jul 13, 2021
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Canada, Mexico, and the United States have a special trade agreement to allow qualified nationals to temporarily work in the participating countries. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the basis for the TN NAFTA Professionals Visa. The TN Visa allows Canadian and Mexican nationals (citizens or permanent residents) to work and stay in the US for up to 3 years. 

It is important to understand the benefits and disadvantages of applying for a TN Visa status. 

What Are the Benefits of Applying for a TN Visa to the US?

If you are a Canadian national, then you do not need to apply for a TN Visa at a US embassy or consulate. You can simply apply for TN classification when entering the US at a designated Port of Entry (POE), given that you present all the required documents to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.

The TN Visa status covers a designated range of professionals including economists, foresters, hotel managers, dietitians, etc. You must present proof of education, qualifications or membership in a professional group, etc to qualify for a TN Visa. You must also have a valid job offer from a US employer for a full-time or part-time job in an eligible NAFTA profession. 

The TN Visa also allows you to add your accompanying spouse and dependent children on your application to allow them to accompany you during your stay in the US.

What Are the Disadvantages of Applying for a TN Visa?

The TN Visa is only available to Canadian and Mexican nationals. It is also a nonimmigrant visa and that does not allow dual intent. That means that you can not apply to adjust your temporary status to permanent residence in the US. Applying for permanent residence on a TN Visa can result in penalties. Also, while Canadian nationals can simply apply for a TN Visa at the POE, it is not so for Mexican nationals.

Temporary workers from Mexico must first apply for a TN Visa at a US embassy or consulate before traveling to a US port of entry.

Another disadvantage is that almost all designated professions for the TN Visa require a baccalaureate degree which can not be substituted by experience. While some professions allow a bachelor’s degree as an alternative, most applicants will still require a baccalaureate degree to clear the entry-level requirements for a TN Visa.

You must also prepare an offer of employment. You can not apply for a TN Visa and then look for employment in the US. The TN Visa does not allow all family members to accompany you, only your spouse and dependent children will be allowed to accompany you to the US.

Most importantly, your spouse and dependent children will not be eligible for work authorization in the US and will be required to leave the country once your TN Visa expires.

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