To create better relationships between countries, the U.S., in cooperation with Canada and Mexico, created the North American Free Trade Agreement (also known as NAFTA), which is now known as the USMCA Agreement (United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement). This agreement, besides its economic and trade benefits, also has traveling and working advantages. More specifically, the U.S. created the Treaty National Professionals Visa, or the TN Visa, to allow citizens of Canada and Mexico to live and work in the U.S. temporarily.
To qualify for a TN visa, you must work in the USA in one of the professions on the list of TN occupations. You must also satisfy the educational standards and credentials required for the profession you will work in. This classification permits you to work in the USA and extend your status over and over without limitation.
On this visa, your spouse and children are eligible for dependent TD status. With TD status, your spouse and children cannot work but they can go to school.
There are two types of TN visa based on nationality:
⦁ TN-1 is the visa for citizens of Canada
⦁ TN-2 is the visa for citizens of Mexico
Requirements for TN visa
There are certain requirements to be eligible to get a TN visa. The requirements are general, educational and work experience, and there are specific requirements for health care workers.
The general requirements for people to qualify for the TN visa are:
⦁ Applicants must be citizens of Canada or Mexico
⦁Their occupation must be on the NAFTA list
⦁ They must have a bonafide job offer from an employer in the US
⦁The applicant must meet all educational and experience requirements
⦁The applicant must demonstrate intent to return home after their visa expires
What Are the NAFTA Professions?
To qualify for a TN visa, your job must be listed on the TN Occupation List. The TN classification does not allow for all types of work. Your job in the United States must fit into one of the professions listed.
Here is the TN Occupation List of 60 Professions:
⦁ 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
For Canadian citizens, TN nonimmigrant status can be applied for at a CBP designated U.S. ports, at certain pre-clearance stations, or at an Embassy or Consulate.
For Mexican citizens, TN nonimmigrant status can be applied for at an Embassy or Consulate.
In order to obtain a TN visa, you must provide the following documentation:
⦁ Proof of Canadian citizenship.
⦁ Letter from your prospective employer detailing items such as the professional capacity in which you will work in the United States, the purpose of your employment, your length of stay, and your educational qualifications.
⦁ Credentials evaluation (if applicable), together with any applicable fees.
TN Visa Processing Time
If you apply at a port of entry, your processing time may only take a few hours. However, if you are petitioning by mail, the processing time for your petition will depend on the caseload of the USCIS service center adjudicating the case. Generally, you can expect it to take many months to process the case if you are filig through USCIS. However, you can opt to pay an additional fee for premium processing, which will expedite your TN petition’s processing time to 15 days.
How to go from TN Visa to Green Card
You may change status from a TN visa holder to a green card holder in certain circumstances.
The TN visa is a non-immigrant visa classification so it does not directly lead to a green card. To go from TN visa to green card, there are certain circumstances that must be present in order to be able to apply for an adjustment of status or apply for an immigrant visa abroad.
An adjustment of status is when you change from non-immigrant classification to immigrant classification. The entire process can be done within the USA without the need to go abroad. In order to do an adjustment of status, you must be lawfully present in the United States at the time the adjustment of status petition is filed. To adjust status, you must file a Form I-485 with USCIS.
Very Important Note: The TN classification requires you to have non-immigrant intent. Getting approved for an immigrant petition can potentially conflict with the requirement to have non-immigrant intent. As you can imagine, request approval for the green card can be seen as clear evidence of immigrant intent. Therefore, it is highly important to work with a qualified immigration lawyer like myself through the entire process of going from a TN visa to green card.
This is a lot of information to cover; where much of it is highly specialized and complex.