TN visa also called as Trade NAFTA(North American Free Trade Agreement) visa is a special non-immigrant visa in the United States, uniquely for the citizens of Mexico and Canada. The immigration related provisions of NAFTA cover four categories of business persons from Canada and Mexico, who are seeking entry into the United States:
- TN Professionals.
- B-1 temporary business visitors.
- E traders and investors.
- L-1 intracompany transferees.
The following requirements must be satisfied in order to obtain a TN visa:
- The applicant must be a Canadian or Mexican.
- The designated profession must be approved by NAFTA.
- The applicant should possess the required educational credentials.
- The applicant should have an offer letter from the U.S. or Canadian or Mexican employer.
- The job should be temporary with a maximum stay of three years.
Procedure for Canadians to obtain TN visa
According to NAFTA, Canadians can enter the United States even without an approved USCIS petition. At the port of entry Canadians are required to submit the document stating that they are engaged in one of the designated professions and that they have acquired the required educational credentials to qualify in the listed profession.
Procedure for Mexicans to obtain TN visa
Mexican immigrants who are seeking TN status must apply directly to a U.S. consulate for TN visa. Form January 1, 2004, employers who are seeking to hire Mexican professionals in TN category are no longer required to obtain Labour Condition Application(LCA) from the Department of Labor or file Form I-129, non-immigrant worker petition with the USCIS.
TN visa holders can stay in the United States for the period of time required by the employer, upto three years at a time. They can receive extension of stay in one year increments. The only limitation on the duration of stay for TN professionals is, the purpose of the stay must continue to be temporary. Mexican and Canadian professionals who are already in the United States can apply for TN status by filing Form I-129.
The spouse and unmarried children of TN visa holders will be admitted in TD (Free Trade Dependent) status in the United States. The family members of TN professionals cannot engage in employment unless they are independently qualified but they can undertake courses of study in the U.S. while remaining in TD status.
TN visa has certain advantages over the other non-immigrant visas:
- The process of obtaining the visa is quick.
- It is valid up to three years.
- Canadians can obtain the visa at the port of entry.
- There is no upper limit on the number of TN visas that are issued every year.
- Very helpful for employers who want to hire an employee quickly.
- The visa can be renewed indefinitely.
TN visa has certain disadvantages over the other non-immigrant visas:
- It is valid only for certain occupations.
- Mexicans must apply at the U.S. consulate for TN visa and then enter the United States.