To strengthen ties between the US and neighboring countries, Mexico and Canada, the US government has established the American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has many economic and trade benefits.

Specifically, the US Government has defined the Treaty National Professionals Visa, or TN visa, so that citizens of Canada and Mexico can temporarily work and live in the United States. This article will go through the requirements of a US TN visa, visa renewal, converting a TN visa to a Green Card, a list of professions, and so on.

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US TN Visa

What is a TN visa?

This visa allows Mexican and Canadian citizens to do some temporary occupation in the United States. Applicants for this visa only need to find a job before coming to the United States. The agreement specifies what TN visa holders are allowed to do. About 36 jobs are defined for visas in this category. In the following, we will mention the list of permitted jobs. You can also visit the NAFTA website for more information in this regard.

This visa is divided into two categories based on nationality:

  • TN1: For Canadian citizens
  • TN2: For Mexican citizens

In other words, the TN visa is similar to the H1B visa, although it has some differences. For example, an employer does not need to have a Labor Condition Application (LCA) issued by the Department of Labor to obtain a TN visa. therefore, TN visa sponsorship is considerably simple in comparison with the H1B visa.

Also, the sponsorship process is not defined for this visa. Therefore, both the employee and the employer can easily get what they want, and as a result, applying for this visa will cost less for both of them.

Another difference between the two visas is the lack of an annual cap on issuing a TN visa, while 65,000 people can enter the United States under an H1B visa each year.

What are the TN visa requirements?

To be eligible for this visa, you must:

  •  Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
  • Have one of the authorized occupations on the NAFTA list.
  • Have a full-time or part-time job position in the United States. Self-employment is not accepted.
  •  Have experience and education that meet the requirements of your intended job position in the United States.
  • Declare that you will return to your country after your visa expires and that you do not want to reside in the United States.

You must have a baccalaureate degree to do most of the professions on the NAFTA job list. Having experience can not be a substitute for a degree. However, some occupations require experience in addition to a degree. In this case, you should know that having at least three years of work experience is needed, and having a degree will not replace the work experience. To confirm your work experience, you must provide a letter from your employer describing your duties.

Certification requirement

Individuals who want to work in some US healthcare occupations must meet the requirements of the certification. This certificate confirms that the applicant has completed adequate training programs and has the required experience based on the US health care system. It also shows that regardless of the degree, the applicant is fluent in English. Jobs that should consider this requirement are:

  • Registered nurses
  • Physical Therapists
  • Medical technicians
  • Occupational therapists

This certificate is not required for physicians and non-clinical health care work. Applicants for this certificate should contact the following organizations:

  • The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School
  • The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
  • The Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy

The validity of this permission is up to five years and then you have to renew it.

Requirements for Canadian citizens

Canadians generally do not need a TN visa to enter the United States. In this way, after finding a job when entering the United States, they can apply for TN nonimmigrant status at a US port-of-entry.
To be accepted into the country on a TN visa, Canadians must provide the following documents at the Port of Entry or Pre-Flight Inspection:

  • Evidence of Canadian citizenship
  • Documents related to the job position, company name, length of employment, job description, and qualifications must be provided
  • $ 65 must be paid if you enter the country through the Port of Entry
  • Pay $ 50 if you pass a Pre-Flight inspection

Canadians who live in a third country who have a non-Canadian spouse or children and intend to enter the US as a NAFTA professional need a TN 1 visa. As a result, their family members can also apply for a TN-dependent visa. If you want to obtain your TN visa before entering the United States, your employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and pay $ 460. Processing documents submitted to USCIS may take several months. In this case, the employer can pay another $ 1,225 as a Premium Processing fee to be notified of the result of the petition in a short time. Therefore, you must also present the approved Form I-129 at the Port of Entry.

Requirements for Mexican citizens

Mexican citizens must obtain a TN2 visa through the US Embassy to enter the country as a NAFTA professionals.

Do you want to know how to move to the US as a nurse? Read this article.

How to apply for a TN visa?

The process for applying for a TN visa is similar to other nonimmigrant US visas. If you are applying for a TN visa, you must follow the steps below to obtain a visa:

1. Complete the DS-160 form

This form contains questions regarding your personal information and the purpose of your trip to the United States. You must first complete the form. Then you have to print the confirmation page that appears after submitting the form.

2. Pay the visa fee

The visa application fee, like most US nonimmigrant visas, is $ 160 paid by the applicant. In the next steps, you must provide the payment receipt as one of the necessary documents.

3. Prepare the necessary documents

You must provide the following materials as a TN visa applicant:

  • Valid passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months from your visa expiration date.
  • Applicant photo.
  • DS-160 confirmation page
  • The receipt of visa application fee
  • Employer letter that must contain the following:
  • Your job position in the United States
  • Description of your duties
  • The duration of the contract
  • Experiences and educational background
  • Your salary
  • Any certification that may be required

4. Schedule an interview appointment

All applicants for US visas must attend a visa interview at the embassy. However, people under the age of 14 or over 79 are exempt from the interview. You should schedule an interview appointment as soon as possible because the embassies’ workload varies, and it is not possible to precisely predict the waiting time. After setting up the interview, you will receive a confirmation letter containing information about the interview day.

5. Participate in the interview

On the interview day, the consular officer inquires about your background, education, profession, and the purpose of your journey to the US.

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What questions will probably be asked on the day of the interview?

Your eligibility for a TN visa will be assessed at the interview. In the beginning, you will be asked general questions about your previous trips to the United States. The consular officer will then ask more specific questions about the type of job you will have in the United States, the employer, the length of stay, and so on. In some cases, the employer will be contacted during or after the interview to verify your answers. You must answer all the questions directly and honestly.

Some of the questions the consular officer asks about your previous trips to the United States:

  • Have you traveled to this country before or had a US visa?
  • Do you have a criminal background in the United States?
  • Have you ever been hired in the US?
  • Have you ever violated immigration laws?

Questions to ask about your job in the United States:

  • How long do you intend to work in the United States?
  • What are the tasks you are supposed to perform?
  • How much will your salary be?

By asking such questions, the consular officer intends to check your eligibility. At this stage, some documents may be required. The next step is to ask questions about the company you are hired for, the type of work the company does, and your employer.

If you need to know how a hospitality worker can move to the US, read this article. 

What is the validity period of a TN visa?

The initial validity of this visa is three years. You can then renew it indefinitely for three-year periods. Remember, as long as you are in the United States, you must prove that you do not intend to reside permanently. To prove this, you can provide documents such as a bank statement or a list of assets in your country. Although you can extend your TN visa indefinitely, it is difficult to get a Green Card under this visa. Because during the visa application and renewal process you emphasize that you will return to your country after the employment contract is over.

What restrictions do visa holders face?

There are many advantages to having a TN visa, but the visa holders also face limitations:

  • You must return to your country immediately after your visa expires. Therefore, you do not have the time to make arrangements to return.
  • Self-employed people cannot apply for a TN visa.
  • The TN visa is not dual intent, so you can not change the TN visa to a Green Card through this visa. If you apply for residency, you will jeopardize your nonimmigrant visa status.

Can TN visa holders bring their family members to the United States?

Mexican and Canadian citizens can bring their family members to the United States on a TN visa. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of TN visa holders are eligible for a dependent visa known as a TD visa.
Canadian spouses and children do not need a TD visa. They can enter the US port of entry and provide documents such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate to prove their relationship with the principal visa holder. However, Mexican citizens wishing to obtain a TD visa must apply to the US Embassy in their home country and get their visa before entering the United States.
To obtain a TD visa, the TN visa holder must prove that he or she can financially support his or her family members.
TD visa holders are not allowed to work in the United States but can enroll in academic courses. TD visa conditions depend on the TN visa. This means that a TD visa holder can stay in the United States as long as the primary visa holder can stay in the United States.

What is the TN visa professions?

The NAFTA agreement defines about 63 jobs for Canadian and Mexican citizens. These occupations are divided into four categories: scientists, teachers, medicine, and general professions.

Before addressing the Nafta list of professions, let us first define some terms:

  • A Post Secondary Diploma is issued by a reputable institution in Canada or the United States to someone who has completed two or more years of postsecondary education.
  • Post Secondary Certificate is issued by one of the following organizations after completing the postsecondary education:
  • The federal or state government of Mexico
  • An institution recognized by the state or federal government of Mexico.
  • An academic institution established under federal or state law
  • According to what is defined in the NAFTA agreement, a Business Person must be involved in trade in goods, services, and investment activities.
  • Temporary Entry indicates that the person does not intend to reside in the United States.


Agriculturists (including Agronomist)baccalaureate degreeGeochemistbaccalaureate degree
Animal Breederbaccalaureate degreeGeologistbaccalaureate degree
Animal Scientistbaccalaureate degreeGeophysicists (including Oceanographer in Mexico and the United States)baccalaureate degree
Apiculturistbaccalaureate degreeHorticulturistbaccalaureate degree
Astronomerbaccalaureate degreeMeteorologistbaccalaureate degree
Biochemistbaccalaureate degreePharmacologistbaccalaureate degree
Biologists (including the profession of Plant Pathologist)baccalaureate degreePhysicists (including oceanographers in Canada)baccalaureate degree
Chemistbaccalaureate degreePlant Breederbaccalaureate degree
Dairy ScientistDairy ScientistPoultry Scientistbaccalaureate degree
EntomologistDairy ScientistSoil Scientistbaccalaureate degree
EpidemiologistDairy ScientistZoologistbaccalaureate degree
GeneticistDairy Scientist  


College Professorbaccalaureate degreeSeminary Teacherbaccalaureate degree
University Professorbaccalaureate degree  

Medical professionals:

DentistD.D.S., D.M.D., or state/provincial licensePhysician (teaching or research only)M.D., or state/provincial license
Dietitianbaccalaureate degree or state/provincial licensePhysio/Physical Therapistbaccalaureate degree or state/provincial license
Medical Technologistbaccalaureate degree of post-secondary diploma + three years’ experience
The applicant must want to work in the field of laboratory tests in areas such as chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic or bacteriological or analysis to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases.
PsychologistLicenciatura Degree or state/provincial license
Nutritionistbaccalaureate degreeRecreational Therapistbaccalaureate degree
Occupational therapistbaccalaureate degree or state/provincial licenseRegistered nurseLicenciatura Degree or state/provincial license
Pharmacistbaccalaureate degree or state/provincial licenseVeterinarianD.V.M., D.M.V., or state/provincial license or Doctor en Veterinaria

General occupations:

Accountantbaccalaureate degree, C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec)L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., or Licencuature degree (five years) or membership in a state/provincial bar
Architectbaccalaureate degree,  state/provincial licenseLibrarianM.L.S. or B.L.S. (for which another baccalaureate degree was a prerequisite)
Computer Systems Analystbaccalaureate degree, or post-secondary diploma +
three years experience
Management Consultantbaccalaureate degree or 5 years experience in consulting or related field
Disaster relief insurance claims adjusterbaccalaureate degree, or 3 years experience in claims adjustment (applicable only when a disaster has been announced)Mathematician (including Statistician and Actuary)baccalaureate degree
Economistbaccalaureate degreeRange Manager/Range Conservationistbaccalaureate degree
Engineerbaccalaureate degree or state/provincial licenseResearch Assistantbaccalaureate degree
Foresterbaccalaureate degree, or state/provincial licenseScientific Technician/TechnologistAccepted areas are agricultural science, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics.
The applicant must have the power to solve the problem and be able to apply their knowledge in basic research.
Graphic designerbaccalaureate degree, or post-secondary diploma +  three years’ experienceSocial Workerbaccalaureate degree
Hotel managerbaccalaureate degree, or post-secondary diploma +  three years’ experienceSylviculturist (including Forestry specialists)baccalaureate degree
Industrial designerbaccalaureate degree, or post-secondary diploma +  three years’ experienceTechnical Publications Writerbaccalaureate degree, or post-secondary diploma +  three years’ experience
Interior Designerbaccalaureate degree, or post-secondary diploma +  three years’ experienceUrban Planner (including Geographerbaccalaureate degree
Land Surveyorbaccalaureate degree,  state/provincial licenseVocational Counselorbaccalaureate degree
Landscape Architectbaccalaureate degree  

Let’s sum up…

A TN visa is a temporary work permit like an E visa, CW visa, and I visa. In this article, we reviewed the requirements of the TN visa, the application process, the renewal, the TN visa professions, the conversion of this visa into a Green Card, etc. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as how to immigrate to other countries. If you have experience in obtaining a visa, write it in the comments section. Sharing your experiences will allow other readers to make better decisions and make fewer mistakes.
On the Visa Library website, we look forward to hearing your comments and questions, and we will be responsive as soon as possible.

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