TN Visa - North American Free Trade Agreement for Canadian and Mexican Citizens
If you’re a Canadian or Mexican citizen, you may be eligible for a TN visa. But what, exactly, is this visa for – and how do you get one? This guide explains everything you need to know.
What is a TN Visa?
A TN visa is a special nonimmigrant visa that allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States for a specific period of time. To be eligible for a TN visa, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer in an occupation that is listed on the NAFTA list of professions.
About the TN Visa (NAFTA Visa)
The TN visa, or NAFTA, provides Canadian and Mexican citizens with temporary residential status for work at a professional level. Although TN visas are temporary, usually lasting three years, they are relatively easy to obtain and extend. These visas do not need advanced approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). It is usually preferable to an H-1B temporary work visa.
This is an excellent opportunity for Canadian and Mexican professionals to live and work in the United States. Many Canadian and Mexican citizens and San Francisco employers take advantage of the “Trade NAFTA” or TN visa.
At the most basic level, in order to qualify for a TN visa, the applicant must:
- Be a Canadian or Mexican professional
- Be a qualified professional whose occupation is listed in the NAFTA list
- Have pre-arranged a full time or part time job with a U.S. employer
While holding a TN visa, a TN professional must keep a residence abroad which he or she intends to return to when their TN visa expires. The spouse or children of a TN professional may accompany or follow-to-join as dependents in “Treaty Dependent” status.
Who Qualifies for a TN Visa?
To officially qualify for a TN visa, you must:
- Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico
- Have a job offer from a U.S. employer in an occupation that is listed on the NAFTA list of professions
- Meet the specific requirements for that particular profession
- Intend to work in the United States for a temporary period of time
- Have a valid passport
- Have proof of your qualifications, such as a diploma, degree, license and an evaluation of your professional credentials
How to Get an TN Visa (NAFTA Visa)
To start the process of obtaining an a TN visa, contact Warren Law Firm to schedule a consultation. By reviewing the TN professional’s resume and job description ahead of the call we can make the most of our time and determine how to proceed.
The TN visa process can take 30 to 90 days to be finalized. Although the process is fairly straight-forward, working with an immigration lawyer like Angela Warren can help improve the likelihood of approval. During your consultation, we will discuss:
- Your professional qualifications
- The requirements of your specific occupation
- How to gather the necessary documentation
- What fees are associated with the TN visa application process
Applying for a TN Visa
To help you apply for a TN visa, your attorney will:
- Review your qualifications to ensure you are eligible for a TN visa
- Gather all the necessary documentation, including proof of your qualifications, a job offer from your U.S. employer, and evidence of your intent to work in the United States for a temporary period of time
- Prepare and file the TN visa application on your behalf
- Help you schedule and prepare for your interview with a consular officer, if necessary
- Respond to any requests for additional information from the USCIS or the consulate
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With more than 20 years of immigration and business immigration experience, Angela Warren has helped hundreds of individuals, families and businesses.
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Common Questions About TN Visas
Check out these common questions about TN visas. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please call our office to schedule a consultation. We’ll get you the answers you need.
Can Your Family Come to the United States if You Have a TN Visa?
Your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 can come to the United States with you on a TN visa. They will need to apply for a “Treaty Dependent” visa, also known as a TD visa.
What is the Difference Between a TD Visa and a TN Visa?
A TD visa is very similar to a TN visa, but there are a few key differences. For example, TD visa holders:
- Are not allowed to work in the United States
- Are not required to maintain a foreign residence
- May attend school or college in the United States, but may not engage in full-time study
How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on a TN/NAFTA Visa?
You can stay in the United States for up to three years on a TN visa. If you want to stay longer, you will need to apply for an extension.
What Happens if Your Job Ends While You Are in the United States on a TN Visa?
If you lose your job while you are in the United States on a TN visa, you will be required to leave the country. You may not switch to another type of visa while you are in the United States.
Can You Change Jobs if You Have a TN Visa?
You can change jobs if you have a TN visa. However, you will need to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of your change in employer and obtain a new labor condition application from your new employer.
Can You Extend Your Stay on a TN Visa in the U.S.?
Yes, you can extend your stay on a TN visa. To do so, you will need to file an application for an extension with USCIS before your current visa expires.
What Happens if You Want to Apply for Permanent Residence While You Are in the United States on a TN Visa?
If you want to apply for permanent residence while you are in the United States on a TN visa, you will need to leave the country and apply for a green card through consular processing. You will not be able to adjust your status from a TN visa to a green card.
Where Do You Get a TN Visa if You’re a Canadian Citizen?
If you are a Canadian citizen, you can apply for a TN visa at the border or airport when you are entering the United States. You will need to have all of the necessary documentation with you, including a job offer letter and proof of your qualifications.
Where Do You Get a TN Visa if You’re a Mexican Citizen?
If you are a Mexican citizen, you will need to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate in Mexico. You will need to have all of the necessary documentation with you, including a job offer letter and proof of your qualifications.
How Long Does it Take to Get a TN Visa?
The processing time for a TN visa varies depending on the consulate where you apply. Some consulates may issue your visa on the same day that you apply, while others may take up to two weeks. If you arrive in the U.S. seeking this type of visa, the official at your border crossing may make a decision on the spot.
List of Some NAFTA Professions
Here’s a shortened list of some of the NAFTA professions that qualify you for a TN visa:
- Computer systems analyst
- Graphic designer
- Hotel manager
- Industrial designer
- Interior designer
- Management consultant
- Technical writer
- Urban planner
- Vocational counselor
There are over 60 professions that qualify for a TN visa. For a complete list, please consult the NAFTA occupation list.
Help Getting a TN Visa
Angela Warren and her team at Warren Law Firm have over 20 years of experience obtaining visas for those who qualify, including NAFTA visas also known as TN visas. Warren Law Firm works with people from all around the world to find the right visa solution for their needs, including, but not limited to:
- Business persons and managers
- Engineers and economists
- Dentists and other medical professionals
A San Francisco immigration attorney like Angela Warren can be a great advantage for people who want to live or work in San Francisco using a TN visa, or for San Francisco companies wishing to obtain a TN visa for one of their potential employees.
Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About Getting a TN Visa?
If you’re thinking about getting a TN visa, we may be able to help you. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with a caring, experienced immigration attorney who can evaluate your needs and help put you on the right path. We can explain your options when it comes to using a TN visa, as well as discuss how to go about bringing your family members with you, when you call. We’ll also be here to answer any questions you may have about the process, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.
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