The TN (Trade NAFTA) is a special non – immigrant status in the United States unique to the citizens of Mexico and Canada. The TN status was recognized in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the year 1994. The TN visa is a working visa issued to citizens of Canada and Mexico to legally work in the United States. The TN visa is somewhat similar to that of a H1-B visa, but has special features too. People with the TN visa may work up to 3 years, which may be renewed indefinitely in three-year increments. As a Canadian does not need to request a visa formally at a US consulate, it is called a status and not a visa.
Applying for the TN status for Mexicans is not the same as for Canadians. The Mexicans must follow the same procedure as the Canadians but the Mexicans must first obtain a US TN-2 visa at a US consulate (generally in Mexico) . Once the TN visa is stamped in the passport of the Mexican he or she may enter the United States in TN status in the same way as a Canadian. The Mexicans will be admitted in the United States in TN – 2 status.
To qualify for a TN visa, there are few eligibility requirements. Applying for this status is a fairly streamlined procedure. The individual who wishes to obtain a TN visa may apply for this visa if he or she
· is a citizen of Canada or Mexico
· has a job by an employer in the United States
· the offered job must be an approved profession listed in the NAFTA Appendix 1603.D which may include the professions of Accountant, Economist, Engineer, Librarian, etc.
· is qualified to work in the offered position, and
· the job offer is temporary up to a maximum of one year stay period in the United States.
How to Get a TN Visa to Work in the United States?
· To apply for the TN status, an individual must have a job offer from an US employer.
· The applicants must ensure they have the necessary qualifications required to obtain the visa.
· Must provide a letter from the US employer that must be submitted to the treaty officer at the border. This letter must include details about the US company, terms of employment and qualifications of the employer.
· The applicant must gather the required documents like evidence on the qualification and proof of citizenship.
· Once the required documents are gathered, the applicant may apply for the visa in person at a US Customs and Immigration checkpoint (this usually will occur at the airport of the departing city in Canada). Mexicans, who are required to hold a visa in order to enter the U.S., must first apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate in Mexico before they can apply for admission at a U.S. port of entry.
· The applicant must provide the documentation to the Treaty Officer and clearly describe the offer of employment and the qualifications.
· The applicant will be informed by the Treaty Officer on the approval and denial of the visa application.