The United States offers the TN Visa as a nonimmigrant work visa for Canadian and Mexican citizens. Canadian citizens are eligible to apply for a TN Visa directly at the Port of Entry to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when seeking entry to the US.
The application process is quite straightforward. Applicants will be required to attend an interview with one or more CBP officials. If the interview is successful, you will be granted entry to the US on a TN Visa. However, if it is not successful, then you will be denied entry to the US.
Therefore, it is best to prepare in advance if you plan to apply for a TN Visa at the port of entry.
How Can You Prepare for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Interview At a Port of Entry?
Decide Where to Apply
While all US ports of entry are capable of processing your request for a TN Visa, they come in different forms:
Land border covers entering the US by land from the Canadian or Mexican border. This is the most common and straightforward way to apply as officials at the US-Canada port of entry are more familiar with this “walk-up” application process compared to those at the southern border. Currently, the land borders are open to TN Visa applicants as it is considered an essential work visa.
It is when you apply for the TN Visa before you physically reach the US. There are several pre-clearance facilities available in Canada and around the world to clear US immigration and customs at the airport before boarding a flight to the US.
First Port of Entry:
It is when you apply for the TN Visa at the first port of entry after physically reaching the US. This is usually the case when you do not travel via a land border or get pre-clearance at the airport.
These ports receive fewer TN applications, so the experience might be inconsistent. If your flight includes layovers, then you must apply for your TN Visa at your first arrival airport in the US.
For example, if your flight goes from London to Chicago and to Denver, you will apply for your TN Visa at the Chicago airport when you first arrive in the US.