US Visa for TN NAFTA Professionals
TN visa – trade NAFTA visa – is a special US immigration to allow a faster work visa to people from Canada and Mexico. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an economic arrangement agreed on by Mexico, the United States, and Canada. This stipulates agreed provisions under NAFTA visa to facilitate simplified entry and employment of professionals with defined educational and skillset from one country in another.
TN visa is more or less similar to H-1B visa but doesn’t make one qualified to get a permanent residency in the United States. The US visa for TN NAFTA professionals has an initial validity of three years and can be renewed indefinitely without any restriction. The NAFTA visa for Canadian and Mexican professional workers allows qualified persons to enter the United States and engage in any job or profession.
What Type of Professionals Qualify for a TN Visa?
Canadian and Mexican professionals can apply for the US visa for TN NAFTA professionals when they belong to any of the following categories.
Here is a list of the professions that qualify you for a TN visa:
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Graphic Designer
- Hotel Manager
- Industrial Designer
- Interior Designer
- Land Surveyor
- Landscape Architect
- Management Consultant
- Range Manager
- Research Assistant
- Scientific Technician
- Social Worker
- Technical Publications Writer
- Urban Planner
- Vocational Counselor
- Medical Laboratory Technologist
- Occupational Therapist
- Recreational Therapist
- Registered Nurse
- Animal Breeder/Scientist
- Dairy Scientist
- Plant Breeder
- Poultry Scientist
- Soil Scientist
- College Professor
- Seminary Professor
- University Professor
What are the eligibility requirements for TN Visa?
Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants such as accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if:
The applicant must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
The applicant must have the educational qualification to prove his expertise as a professional under the approved categories.
The professional is certified to work under US regulations.
The applicant is qualified to fill a US position that is suitable to accept a NAFTA professional.
The applicant must have a job offer from a US employer. It can be a full-time or part-time job.
The professional applying for the US visa for TN NAFTA professionals is permitted to practice the profession in the United States.
What is the TN NAFTA Visa Process for Canadian Citizens?
The citizens of Canada are usually free to enter the United States without any restriction. However, their status remains nonimmigrants. The trade NAFTA visa only corroborates this and allows professionals a legal validation to work.
Thus, Canadian citizens don’t require to apply for a NAFTA visa at US consulates to enter the country.
They need to produce the following documents at the border point while entering the United States.
Proof of Canadian citizenship.
An offer letter from a US employer stating the professional qualification, job to join, how long to work, and why the person is joining the job.
Proof of educational and professional credentials.
Additional information as mentioned on U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
Alternatively, the US employer of the TN Canadian citizen may submit an I-129 form. This is a type of USCIS filing for nonimmigrant workers. Contact an expert immigration attorney to know the process for quick and premium processing.
Once Form I-129 is approved, this allows status equal to TN NAFTA visa for Canadian citizens. They can present the I-129 approval letter along with the proof of Canadian citizenship at CBP-designated entry points. It is advisable to carry supporting documents establishing professional qualifications.
What is the TN NAFTA Visa Process for Mexican Citizens?
Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican citizens won’t have free access to the United States. Every Mexican has to obtain a TN NAFTA visa for nonimmigrants after following the due process of application. They have to apply for a TN visa at any consulate or the US embassy in Mexico.
While entering the United States, a Mexican citizen holding a TN visa also has to present necessary and additional documents to prove his citizenship, professional qualification, and a job offer from a US employer.
How Long a TN NAFTA Visa Holder Can Stay in the United States?
The initial period of stay allowed under a NAFTA visa for Canadian and Mexican professional workers is 3 years. Those, who want to stay in the United States after completing 3 years, can seek an extension.
While the NAFTA visa holder Canadian or Mexican citizens are working in the United States, their US employer should file Form I-129 seeking an extension for its TN employee.
If the NAFTA visa holder Canadian or Mexican citizens depart before completing 3 years and then seek an extension while staying out of the United States, they have to follow the application process required for a new visa.
What is the Status of Dependents of a TN NAFTA Visa Holder?
The General Status
Spouse and children (aged 21 or less) of Canadian or Mexican professionals with a NAFTA visa get nonimmigrant dependent status.
They can stay in the United States as long the TN visa holder remains.
However, these dependents of TN visa holders are not eligible to work in the United States.
They have permission to study in the United States.
Entry Documents for Dependents of a TN NAFTA Visa Holder
Dependents, who are not citizens of Canada or Mexico, may need an additional visa to enter as required from time to time. They may need valid documents to prove their continued relationship with the TN visa holder. The immigration department may need copies of TN nonimmigrant’s entry and maintenance of his status.
Canadian citizen dependents of NAFTA visa holders only need documents establishing their citizenship and the relationship with the TN visa holder. The immigration department may need copies of TN nonimmigrant’s entry and maintenance of his status.
Mexican citizen dependents of NAFTA visa holders have to file for and get a TD nonimmigrant visa. This also requires them to submit proof of relationship with the TN visa holder. The immigration department may need copies of TN nonimmigrant’s entry and maintenance of his status.
Extension of Dependents of a TN NAFTA Visa Holder
If a TN visa holder applies for an extension while staying in the United States, his dependents also have to apply for the extension of their nonimmigrant status. They don’t need to travel out of the United States to file the application.
If dependents of NAFTA visa holders have their visas expired, they need to follow the procedure required for applying for a new visa to reenter the United States.
Get in touch with Zavala Texas Law to know more about how to successfully apply for different US immigration visa types and what documents and conditions make you eligible. You can also learn more about the TN Visa here