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The TN Visa serves as a pivotal element under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), facilitating the movement and employment of Canadian and Mexican citizens professionals within the United States. This focused visa category is designed to strengthen economic and social ties between the USMCA countries, emphasizing the critical role of labor mobility in fostering mutual growth and development. For professionals from Mexico and Canada, the TN Visa represents a streamlined pathway to engage in lucrative employment opportunities across the United States, reflecting the shared commitment to ease of access and professional exchange.


Requirements for TN Visa Applicants

Citizenship and Eligible Professions

TN Visa eligibility is strictly confined to citizens of Mexico and Canada, reflecting the trilateral agreement's focus on these specific member countries of the USMCA. This visa category is only open to permanent residents or those holding dual citizenship if one of the citizenships is either Canadian or Mexican.

List of Authorized Professions

The professions eligible under the TN Visa encompass a wide range of skilled occupations deemed essential for the economic interactions between the USMCA countries. Some prominent examples include:

  • Accountants: Vital for managing financial records and ensuring compliance with fiscal regulations across borders.
  • Engineers: Cover various specialties crucial for the infrastructural and technological advancements in the participating countries.
  • Doctors and Medical Professionals: Address the healthcare needs and facilitate medical expertise sharing.

You can refer to the Authorized Professions List for a comprehensive list of all authorized professions.

Differences in the Application Process Compared to Canadian Citizens

Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican citizens may undergo a visa issuance process that involves an interview at a US consulate or embassy. Canadian citizens can bypass this step and apply directly at US ports of entry, making their process faster and less cumbersome.

For Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens enjoy a more streamlined TN Visa application process:

  1. Job Offer: Like Mexican citizens, Canadians need a job offer from a US employer in an eligible profession.
  2. Application at Port of Entry: Canadians can present their application directly at a US port of entry without needing a pre-scheduled interview at a consulate.
  3. Documentation: Bring necessary documents, including proof of Canadian citizenship, a letter from the US employer, and credentials proving professional qualifications.

Renewal and Change of Employer

Renewal of TN Visa:

TN Visas are initially valid for up to three years but can be renewed. The renewal process involves:

  • Submitting a new letter from the employer confirming ongoing employment or a new job offer in a qualifying profession.
  • For Canadians, renewal can often be handled at a port of entry. Mexicans will generally need to go through the consulate or embassy process again.

Rights and Benefits for TN Visa Holders

Labor Rights and Working Conditions

TN Visa holders enjoy several rights that help protect their working conditions in the US:

  • Equal Treatment: TN Visa holders are entitled to the same treatment as US citizens regarding workplace conditions, salary, and labor rights. This includes protections under US labor laws, such as safety standards, anti-discrimination laws, and compensation rules.
  • Work Authorization: Unlike some other visa categories that restrict employment, TN Visa holders are authorized to work full-time for their sponsoring employer in their specific profession.
  • Duration of Stay: Initially, the TN status is granted for up to three years, but it may be extended indefinitely in increments of three years as long as the visa holder continues to comply with the terms of the visa.

Benefits for Family Members

Direct family members of TN Visa holders—specifically spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21—can accompany the visa holder to the US under the TD (Trade Dependent) status:

  • Residency: Family members can live in the US for the duration of the TN Visa holder's authorized stay.
  • Study: Dependents can enroll in US educational institutions without obtaining a separate student visa.
  • Employment: While TD dependents are not permitted to work in the US, they enjoy other benefits such as studying. The lack of work authorization is a significant distinction from other dependent visa categories.

Travel Rights

TN Visa holders and their families can travel in and out of the US or remain continuously within the country if their visa and status remain valid. Maintaining the validity involves keeping their passport and visa documents current and abiding by the employment conditions outlined in their visa.

Understanding these rights and benefits is crucial for TN Visa holders and their families to fully leverage their opportunities in the US and ensure compliance with immigration regulations.

Additional Considerations for TN Visa Holders

Status Change and Visa Adjustment

TN Visa holders sometimes seek to change their status, particularly if they wish to remain in the US for reasons beyond temporary work. Here are key points regarding status changes and visa adjustments:

Available Options for Changing Immigration Status

  • H-1B Visa: TN Visa holders may consider transitioning to an H-1B visa if they meet the criteria. This visa is often used for longer-term employment in specialty occupations.
  • Green Card (Permanent Residency): Obtaining a green card is possible but complex, as the TN Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that does not directly lead to permanent residency. Methods include employer sponsorship through a job or marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Tax and Healthcare Considerations

TN Visa holders are subject to US tax laws and may comply with all federal, state, and local tax requirements. They are considered resident aliens for tax purposes if they meet the substantial presence test, which involves being physically present in the US for at least 31 days during the current year and 183 days during the three-year period, including the current year and the two years immediately before that.

Healthcare is another crucial aspect. While TN Visa holders are eligible to access healthcare services, they are not automatically covered by any public health insurance. They should secure private health insurance to cover medical needs, as healthcare costs can be significant in the US.

The TN Visa offers a valuable opportunity for Mexican and Canadian professionals seeking to work in the United States under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) provisions. This visa type facilitates the mobility of skilled workers in various professions, from engineers and doctors to accountants, thereby enhancing the economic ties between the member countries.

Key Points Recap:

  • Eligibility and Application: TN Visas are available exclusively to citizens of Canada and Mexico, and they offer employment in pre-defined professional categories.
  • Rights and Benefits: TN Visa holders enjoy rights similar to US workers, including labor protections and bringing immediate family members under TD status.
  • Renewal and Mobility: The visa can be renewed indefinitely in three-year increments, and holders can change employers with requisite notifications and adjustments in their visa documentation.
  • Legal and Status Considerations: While the TN Visa does not directly lead to permanent residency, holders may explore options for status adjustments with proper legal guidance, considering the visa's nonimmigrant intent.

Understanding TN Visa Status for Canadian and Mexican Citizens Under NAFTA

The TN visa status represents a vital component of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), facilitating employment in the US for qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens. This nonimmigrant status allows individuals from Canada and Mexico to engage in professional occupations within the US under terms set by NAFTA, which is now maintained under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Canadian and Mexican professionals may meet specific educational qualifications and present an employment letter from a prospective TN employer to qualify for TN visa status. The application process involves submitting documents such as a valid passport, proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship, and a contract or employment letter alongside the application form confirmation page and the application fee payment receipt.

Maintaining TN visa status requires adherence to regulations, including continuous employment under the conditions specified in the visa application. TN visa holders need to be aware of their visa expiration date and ensure timely renewal to avoid lapses in lawful status. For those whose TN status expires, a grace period may apply, allowing them to remain in the US while they seek to renew or change their visa status.

Family members of TN visa holders, including spouses and children, may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant visas, which do not permit employment but allow for study. Entry into the US for TN and TD visa holders typically involves a process at a US port of entry, where border protection agents verify the validity of the visa and other entry requirements.

Moreover, the nonimmigrant NAFTA professional (TN) status requires that the principal TN visa holder and any derivative TD nonimmigrant visa holders maintain valid documents, such as passports and approval notices from the USCIS website. In cases of document expiration, such as an expired passport, holders may secure a new valid passport to request admission or readmission into the United States.

This system, designed to bolster trade relationships and economic integration between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, underscores the importance of compliance with immigration laws and regulations, which are crucial for maintaining the integrity and benefits of the TN visa program.


Given the complexities and legal intricacies associated with the TN Visa, particularly when considering adjustments in status or dealing with specific professional criteria, it is highly advisable to consult with an immigration attorney focused in TN Visas. An professional can provide guidance tailored to individual circumstances, helping to navigate the application process, potential status changes, and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

For additional information and to seek professional legal advice, you may want to consult with experts at Immigration Hero, who specialize in immigration law and TN Visa applications.