Treaty NAFTA, or “TN” Status

TN: A Fast Pass for Canadian and Mexican Professionals

Created by the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, TN status allows qualified professionals from Canada and Mexico to work in the U.S. TN status has many advantages for eligible workers. Some of the advantages are:

  • unlike the H-1B, there is no annual limit on the number of TN admissions;
  • qualified applicants may use TN status to enter the U.S. without first filing a Petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
  • TN status does not require a Labor Condition Application (LCA), which means that employers do not have to comply with the posting, prevailing wage and recordkeeping requirements associated with H-1B workers;
  • filing fees for TN status are nominal.

TN status is only available to persons with offers of employment in the U.S. who will be working in one of the authorized occupations. A list of authorized occupations can be found here. Though the substantive requirements are nearly the same, the procedures differ for citizens of Canada and Mexico.

To qualify for TN status:

  • The applicant must be a citizen of Mexico or Canada (not a landed immigrant;
  • The applicant must have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer;
  • The applicant must intend to work in an approved profession;
  • The applicant must possess the educational qualifications for the position (as identified by regulation). If the profession requires a license, the applicant must possess the requisite license;
  • The applicant must be a non-immigrant. He/she must have a residence abroad to which he/she intends to return and must be coming to the U.S. for a temporary period;
  • Accompanying spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the TN worker as TD non-immigrants. TD non-immigrants are not eligible for employment-authorization.

TN status can be issued in increments of up to three years. Canadian citizens may apply for TN status at any U.S.-Canadian land border, or at U.S. Pre-flight Inspections in Canada, or at any U.S. port-of-entry. Mexican citizens must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This requires the filing of the on-line Form DS-160, the payment of visa processing fees, and the scheduling of an in-person interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate serving the area of residence. While the procedure is slightly more cumbersome for Mexican citizens, it is still much faster, easier and less expensive than the H-1B or any other work-authorized, non-immigrant category.

At the Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch, we have worked with Canadian and Mexican citizens, and their U.S. employers on applications for TN status. Our record of success is outstanding. For more information and details about the TN category, please contact us.