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TN Visa Temporary Work Visa for Citizens of Canada and US

TN Visa : TN (Trade NAFTA) visa is a nonimmigrant employment visa which allows Canadian and Mexican citizens who work in specific professional occupations to work in the United States. 


What is a TN Visa?


NAFTA stands for North American Free Trade Agreement. The nonimmigrant NAFTA professional or a TN visa is an agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States to create trade and economic relationships. Due to the agreement it allows professionals to work in the US. 


It is replaced by USMCA, the United States Mexico Canada Agreement on July 1, 2020. TN visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States. Permanent Residency holders are not eligible for this visa.


Eligibility for TN Visa: Citizens of Canada and Mexico can apply for a TN Visa.To apply for a TN visa  they must fulfill the eligibility criteria:


  1. Must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.

  2. Must have a profession on NAFTA list.

  3. Must work in a prearranged full-time or Part time job.

  4. Must have essential qualifications.

  5. Must have necessary work experience (If required).


Mostly a Four year Bachelor degree is required for a TN visa, however there are also some exceptions. In some cases experience is not required while in others it is required. Candidates must fulfill all the requirements to get a TN visa.


The requirements for Canadian and Mexican applicants are not the same. Both have different eligibility criterias. 


Canadian Citizens: Canadian citizens generally don't need a visa to enter the US. However, if you are going to the US as a NAFTA professional then you need a TN visa. You need to present all the required documents to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the time of entry to the US. 


These documents mainly require your proof of Canadian citizenship and letter of employment from the employer describing your Job position in the US. Also you need to pay the application fees.


Mexican citizens: Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican citizens need a visa to enter the US. Mexican citizens need a TN nonimmigrant visa to work in the US. to obtain a TN nonimmigrant visa they can apply to the US embassy or Consulate in Mexico. 


Mexican citizens need to apply online for a TN visa. They need to fill Form DS 160. This is required for your interview in the US embassy.


Once you get your TN visa approved, then you can apply for admission at CBP ports. Once all the procedures are done and you get a green light from CBP, then you can enter in The US as a nonimmigrant TN visa holder.


TN visa duration: TN visa is usually granted for 3 years. It also depends upon the employment offer you have. After your visa period is over you need to return to your country. 


If you wish to stay in the US longer than your Visa period then you need to extend your visa. For that your employer needs to submit Form I29 on your behalf. For a smooth visa renewal you must submit your renewal application at least 45 days before your visa expires.


The other way is to return to your country and apply the same procedure as before and get your TN visa.


Who can you bring: As a TN visa holder, you can bring your spouses, common law partners and dependent children along with you. They will not get a TN visa but a TD visa. 


Your spouse or common law partner can not work in the US under TD visa. But your dependent children are able to study under the TD visa. The validity of TD visa is the same as that of a TN visa.


For bringing your family with you, you must provide some documents at the time of application. These are:


  1. Must have proof of citizenship.

  2. Must have a marriage certificate or birth certificate.

  3. Must have proof of TN nonimmigrant status.

  4. Must have copies of TN nonimmigrant documents.


Like TN visa holders, TD visa holders can also apply to extend their stay after their visa is over.


Types of TN Visa: there are two types of TN visa. TN 1 and TN 2. TN 1 visa is for Canadian Citizens and TN 2 visa is for Mexican citizens. The applicant in both TN1 and TN 2 must be listed under the profession list issued by NAFTA. This list contains the professionals in the field of: Accounts, Science, Teaching, Pharmacy, Law and Engineering.  


Benefits of TN Visa: There are many benefits of TN visa. The main benefit is that you don't have to go through the lengthy immigration process to obtain a visa.


If you are a Canadian citizen then you can easily get the TN visa at the border by providing all the necessary documents. It's a very fast process. Also you can renew your TN visa as many times as you want. There is no limit for the renewal of the Visa. 


TN Visa to Green Card: While working on a TN visa you can not directly apply for a green card. A TN visa is a single intent visa. To apply for a green card you need a dual intent visa. 


For a dual intent visa you need to change your visa status to H1B or a L1 visa. These are dual intent visas. These can help you to get a green card in the US. 


Once you arrive in the US on a TN visa, you can work and live in the US for an intended period of time with your spouse and your children. They will be granted the TD visa of the same duration. 


You can easily apply for renewal of your visa without a limit of the number of times you can apply. Also you can change your Visa type from TN to H1B or L1. as you fulfill the conditions of the TN visa then you will also fulfill the conditions of a H1B and L1 visa. You can also buy a house in the US.




  1. Nonimmigrant Visa for Canadian and Mexican Citizens.

  2. Canadian citizens don’t need visa to enter the US

  3. Canadians can easily obtain a visa at the port of entry.

  4. Duration of 3 years with multiple renewals of Visa.

  5. Can bring your family along.

  6. Children can study without a study visa.


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You may also check US Diversity Visa Program Submit an Entry.

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