If you are a citizen of a foreign country and you wish to enter the United States, you need to first obtain either a nonimmigrant visa (for temporary stays), or an immigrant visa (for permanent residence). If you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico, you may be able to apply for the NAFTA Professional (TN) visa, and you (and your immediate family) would be able to live and work in the U.S.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and through this relationship, citizens of Canada and Mexico can work in the United States in prearranged business activities on a nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa. Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not eligible for TN visas.
Who Qualifies for the NAFTA Professional (TN) Nonimmigrant Status?
Canadians and Mexicans may be allowed to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals if:
- They are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Their profession is on the NAFTA list;
- Their position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
- The applicant will work in a prearranged full time or part time job for an employer. Self-employment is not permitted;
- The applicant has the qualifications, meeting the specific requirements, education, and/or experience, of the profession.
With some exceptions, each profession requires a Bachelor’s degree as an entry level requirement. If a Bachelor’s degree is required, experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative to a bachelor’s degree is listed. For a complete list of professions with minimum education requirements and alternative credentials, click here.
Requirements for Canadian Citizens
If you are a Canadian citizen, then you are not required to apply for a TN visa at a US consulate, although a visa can be issued to qualified Canadian TN visa applicants upon request.
When is a NAFTA Professional (TN) visa required for a Canadian citizen?
A Canadian who resides in a third country with a non-Canadian spouse and/or child(ren), and who plans to enter the United States as a NAFTA professional with family member(s), will need a TN visa in order for the family member(s) to be eligible to apply for derivative TD nonimmigrant visa(s).
Requirements for 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.