TN Visa General Description  

  1. Applicant must have been offered employment by a U.S. employer in one of the eligible occupations listed below (and qualified for the position pursuant to the degrees/licenses/experience indicated).
  2. Temporary intent nonimmigrant visa – may be granted for up to three (3) years in duration but Classification/Visa renewal is required.  Based on the Temporary intent nature of this classification, it may be difficult to adjust status to Permanent Resident (Green Card).
  3. Must be a citizen of Canada (or Mexico)
  4. Fast and relatively inexpensive processing (Particularly for petitions adjudicated at the Canada/US Border) – less expensive than an H-1B.
  5. Canadian applicants may apply at the border with the correct documentation.
  6. TN visa holder’s spouse & children may attend school but cannot work in the US on a TD visa.
  7. An Applicant may change status from TN to H-1B or any other non-immigrant visa.
  8. There are no ETA-9035 or Additional Prevailing Wage issues as in the H-1B Visa program.


On December 17, 1992, the Presidents of the United States and Mexico , and the prime minister of Canada entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Implementation of this agreement has been provided for by the North American Free Trade Agreement implementation act (NAFTA implementation act), Public Law 103-182. The NAFTA implementation act was signed into law by the President of the United States on December 8, 1993 . The NAFTA entered into force on January 1, 1994.

NAFTA Chapter 16, entitled “Temporary Entry for Business Persons” was designed to facilitate the movement of businesspersons among the United States, Canada , and Mexico. This chapter contains the visa-related provisions relating to the temporary entry of businesspersons. NAFTA allows investment, trade, and professional commerce services to take place, and thus affects four nonimmigrant visa categories in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act: Temporary Visitors for business (B-1); treaty trader and investors (E); intra-company transferees (L) and NAFTA professionals treaty national (TN).

The U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement (US-CFTA) created a class of professional nonimmigrants, (TC), but did not provide authority for visa issuance. NAFTA has modified and adopted the TC professional category and treats this new admission category (TN) as if it were a nonimmigrant visa classification under INA 101(a)(15), thus, authorizing the issuance of visas to both Mexicans and Canadians. The CFTA was suspended when NAFTA entered into force.

The TN category should not be confused with the H-1B visa classification. It is a separate and distinct category.  Similarities do exist, however, since this category was derived from the H-1B classification.

TD Visa For Spouses & Children

Spouses and children (unmarried children under the age of 21) who are accompanying or following to join NAFTA Professionals (TN visa holders) may receive a derivative TD visa. Applicants must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or parent-child relationship to the principal TN visa holder. Dependents do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canada. Spouses and children cannot work while in the U.S.  They are permitted to study.

Canadian citizen spouses and children do not need visas, but they must have the following documents at the port of entry:

  1. Proof of Canadian citizenship;
  2. Proof of relationship to the principal applicant, such as marriage certificate and birth certificate; and
  3. Photocopies of entry documents of the principal applicant.

If the spouse and children are not Canadian citizens, they must get a TD nonimmigrant visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate.  They must contact the U.S. embassy or consulate that serves their area for information on how to make visa applications.

Spouses or children following to join must show a valid I-94, thereby providing proof that the principal TN visa holder is maintaining his/her TN visa status.

Education Requirement

The applicant’s employer must submit proof that the applicant meets the minimum education requirements or has the alternative credentials set forth in NAFTA agreement, chapter 16 appendix 1603.d.1. Evidence of professional qualifications may be in the form of degrees, certificates, diplomas, professional licenses, or membership in a professional organization. Degrees, diplomas, or certificates received from an educational institution outside the United States, Canada, or Mexico must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service specializing in evaluating foreign documentation.

Work Experience Requirement

Document proving to the applicant’s experience should be in the form of letters from former employers. If the applicant was self-employed, business records should be submitted proving that self-employment.

Eligible Occupations for TN Workers

  • Accountant (baccalaureate, CPA, CA, CGA, or CMA)
  • Agriculturist/Agronomist
  • Animal breeder
  • Animal Scientist
  • Apiculturist
  • Architect (baccalaureate or state/provincial license. Also see Landscape Architect, below)
  • Astronomer
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist
  • Chemist
  • Computer systems analyst Must have:
    • baccalaureate or
    • post secondary diploma *and three years’ experience
  • Dairy Scientist
  • Dentist (DDS, DMD, or state/provincial license)
  • Dietician (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
  • Disaster Relief Insurance Claims AdjusterMust have:
    • baccalaureate or 3 years’ experience in claims adjustment, and
    • completed training in appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims
  • Economist
  • Engineer (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
  • Entomologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Forester (baccalaureate or state/provincial license) (Also see Sylviculturist, below)
  • Geneticist
  • Geochemist
  • Geographer
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Graphic Designer Must have:
    • baccalaureate or
    • post secondary diploma *and three years’ experience
  • Horticulturist
  • Hotel Manager Must have:
    • baccalaureate in hotel/restaurant management or
    • post secondary diploma * in hotel/restaurant management and three years’ experience in hotel restaurant management
  • Industrial Designer Must have:
    • baccalaureate or
    • post secondary diploma *and three years experience
  • Interior Designer Must have:
    • baccalaureate or
    • post secondary diploma *and three years’ experience
  • Land Surveyor (baccalaureate or state/provincial/federal license)
  • Landscaping Architect
  • Lawyer (member of state/provincial bar, or LLB, JD, LLL, or BCL)
  • Librarian (MLS, or BLS. BLS must be one for which another baccalaureate degree was a pre-requisite)
  • Management Consultant Must have:
    • baccalaureate or
    • five years’ experience in consulting or related field.
  • Mathematician
  • Medical Technologist/Medical Lab Technologist (Canada)/ Must have:
    • baccalaureate or
    • post secondary diploma *and three years’ experience

(U.S. job must be in a laboratory to perform chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, or bacteriological tests, and analyses for diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease)

  • Meteorologist
  • Nurse, Registered (must have state/provincial license)
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
  • Oceanographer
  • Pharmacist (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physician (teaching and/or research only, MD or state/provincial license)
  • Physicist
  • Physio/Physical Therapist (baccalaureate or state/provincial license)
  • Plant Breeder
  • Poultry Scientist
  • Psychologist (must have state/provincial license. Cannot qualify with just baccalaureate degree)
  • Range Manager/Range Conservationist
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Research Assistant (baccalaureate and U.S. job in a post-secondary educational institute)
  • Social Worker
  • Soil Scientist
  • Statistician
  • Sylviculturist/Forestry Specialist (also see Forester, above)
  • Teacher (baccalaureate degree: must be coming to work for a college, seminary or university only); no secondary or elementary school teaching.
  • Technician or Technologist, Scientific. (E.g.: Electronic engineering technician.) Must:
    • work in direct support of professionals in one of these disciplines:
      • biology
      • chemistry
      • engineering
      • forestry
      • geology
      • geophysics
      • meteorology
      • physics
    • possess theoretical knowledge of discipline, and
    • solve practical problems in discipline, or apply principles of the discipline to basic or applied research
  • Urban Planner
  • Veterinarian (DVM, DMV, or state/provincial license)
  • Vocational Counsellor
  • Writer, Technical Publications (Technical Publications Writer) Must have:
    • baccalaureate or
    • post secondary diploma *and three years’ experience
  • Zoologist