What is NAFTA visa (TN visa)

By Aleksandra

September 12, 2023

What is NAFTA visa (TN visa)

TN visa is designed for Canadian and Mexican citizens who are NAFTA professionals. It enables temporary work in the USA and has two subtypes. The TN visa was introduced in order to create a good relationship between countries in America. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows economic and trade benefits, as well as traveling and working in the USA. Thanks to that, the Treaty National Professionals Visa (TN visa) was implemented for Mexican and Canadian citizens.

What is a TN visa?

TN visa for Canada or Mexico passport holders is a nonimmigrant NAFTA professional document allowing working in the USA. Around 63 occupations (including scientific research, teaching, law, engineering, etc.) are on the list, according to the agreement. In order to check if you qualify for this visa type, visit the official NAFTA website.

Besides, applicants don’t need to have a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor. It means that there are no specific conditions on requirements or work environment for a prevailing wage set by the US, as it depends on the employees and foreign employers.

Also, no sponsoring is needed. It means that fees for the employer and employee are very low. There is no need to cover a set fee like in an H-1B visa or other visas (the only exceptions are the premium processing fee and form I-129 petition fee).

NAFTA visa doesn’t have a limit of allowed people who can visit the US, in contrast to H-1B visa. Everyone who meets the requirements can obtain it. There are two available types depending on nationality:

  • TN-1 nonimmigrant visa for people with Canadian citizenship
  • TN-2 nonimmigrant visa for people with Mexican citizenship

What are the requirements for a TN visa?

In order to get a NAFTA visa, certain requirements must be met. Besides general expectations related to educational and work experience, some specific ones must be considered as well. Check the list below to know more.

General requirements

A NAFTA visa is available for people who meet the following conditions:

  • They are citizens of Canada or Mexico.
  • Their occupation is on the NAFTA list.
  • They have a full-time or part-time job offer in the US.
  • Their job offer should state that a NAFTA professional is required.
  • All educational and experience requirements must be fulfilled.
  • After the visa expiration, the applicant must come home.

Educational/experience requirements

It is good to consider conditions related to education and experience:

  • Usually, a Bachelor’s Degree is required.
  • The documents need to be notarized and verified.
  • The degree can’t be substituted with work experience.
  • In most cases, at least 3 years of experience in the field is a must-have (a TN support letter from a past employer with details about the job is needed).
  • Sometimes, you will need a proof of license.

Healthcare certifications

Applicants who have a job in healthcare need certification in order to verify if they have finished training/degrees and have enough experience. Also, the interested person must be proficient in English. The below occupations require preparing the certification:

  • Physical Therapists
  • Registered Nurses
  • Medical Technologists
  • Occupational Therapists

You don’t need certification if you are a physician who wants to work in non-clinic healthcare. You can get certification at the following organizations:

  • The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School (CGFNS)
  • The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
  • The Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT).

How to apply for a TN visa?

Online nonimmigrant visa application requires the following points listed below:

  • Entering the information in the form and waiting for confirmation.
  • Paying the visa application fee (only for Mexican citizens).
  • Scheduling the interview and getting a TN status confirmation letter.
  • Submitting documents (a valid passport for at least 6 months, a DS-160 confirmation page, a visa photo, proof of paying the fee, a letter from the employer with the job occupation and description of it, contract length, evidence of experience/education, financial compensation, and license if applicable).
  • Going to the interview and waiting for the updatde of TN status and confirmation.

The validity period of a TN visa

The TN visa is valid for 3 years, and NAFTA professional can extend it for another 3 additional years. You are allowed to stay in the US as long as you can prove that you have ties in your home country, such as bank statements, apartment lease, property deed, etc.

TN visa restrictions

Besides the advantages, there are several restrictions on the TN visa:

  • After the expiration of the visa, in case you haven’t extended it, you must immediately leave the US.
  • It is not possible to get a TN visa for self-employment or self-employed businesses.
  • TN visa has no dual intent, so the nonimmigrant status is at risk when you apply for a Green Card.
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Aleksandra is an experienced visa expert passionate about writing and creating professional content. She loves reading fantasy books, traveling, and board games. 📚🐱✨