TN Visas (NAFTA) for Mexican and Canadian Citizens!

The North American Free Trade Agreement (formerly NAFTA) has been retained under the Biden administration and continues mostly unchanged to allow for Mexican and Canadians to easily obtain a visa to work in the USA. Canadians can apply at the border and Mexicans slightly differently apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico, but both are easy to obtain if the person is in one of the authorized professions, has a formal written job offer, passport and a few other documents. See the U.S. Department of State webpage, “Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Worker.”

Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission with a TN visa are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.

WHAT IS THE BASIS OF THE TN VISA?

TN visa is temporary for up to 3 years, but renewable indefinitely. Self-employed are not eligible, but a management consultant, with a consulting contract in the United States may qualify.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GETTING A TN VISA?

It’s relatively fast and the easiest way for an employer to hire someone from Canada and Mexico. If they are in Mexico, they will need a visa interview, and if a Canadian, they can just apply at the airport. Second, the status can be available for up to three years initially, and then it can be extended in unlimited increments of up to three years each as well. It is possible to extend the status within the United States without departing the country.

WHAT ARE THE JOBS THAT QUALIFY FOR A TN VISA?

Different professions that qualify for a TN visa include accountants, architects, computer systems analyst, economists, engineers, graphic designers, hotel manager, attorneys, research assistants in educational institutions, mathematicians, scientific technicians and technologists, technical publications writers and more.

DISADVANTAGES

Dependent spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible to enter but they are not permitted to work while in the United States. They are permitted to study. There is some discussion now in Congress to change this but for now the only alternative is to obtain a H1B visa and that takes more time and formal sponsorship from the employer.