Canadians & Mexicans: Is a TN Visa Right for You?

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What Is a TN Visa?

The TN visa was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been replaced by the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement. The treaty’s purpose was to facilitate trade and economic relations between the US, Canada, and Mexico. It grants qualifying Canadian and Mexican citizens temporary entry to work in the US professionally.

TN visas are nonimmigrant visas with an initial time limit of three years. This means that you must leave the US at the end of your authorization period. However, you can apply for a renewal of your status before your current visa expires. You may benefit from consulting an immigration attorney in Texas if you are seeking a TN visa.

Read on to learn more about TN visas and how we can help!


Who Is Eligible for a TN Visa?


TN visas fall into two categories: TN1 and TN2. Qualifying Canadian professionals will be eligible for a TN1 visa, while Mexican professionals can apply for a TN-2 visa. The general requirements for a TN visa include the following:

  • You must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen

  • Your job position must be listed on the NAFTA professions list.

  • You must have prior arrangements with your employer concerning your employment

  • You must meet all the educational and experience requirements for the position

  • You must show an intention to return home at the expiration of your visa

  • The job offer must contain a request for a NAFTA professional

Several professions fall under the approved qualifying professions. These include architects, engineers, chemists, teachers, lawyers, and research assistants. The average processing time for Form I-129 for TN-2 visa applicants is two months.


TN Visa Advantages


Certain benefits are available to TN visa holders, making it a more attractive option than other nonimmigrant visas. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Ability to work in the United States: As a TN visa holder, you can engage in business in a professional capacity.
  2. Indefinite renewal: TN visas are only valid for three years, but they can be renewed indefinitely as long as you are still working.
  3. Quick processing times: TN visas have short processing times, and a decision can be granted at the border on the same day. Canadian citizens, for instance, may apply for a TN visa at the border.
  4. No annual quota: There is no annual quota for TN visa applications, and employers can file for a TN visa anytime.
  5. TD nonimmigrant status for dependents: Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may accompany TN visa holders through TD visas (TN dependent) and live in the US. However, they cannot work unless they have their own work authorization.


TN Visa Process


The TN visa application process differs for Canadian and Mexican nationals. The procedures for both are discussed below.

TN-1 Visa for Canadian Citizens

As a Canadian citizen, you do not need to apply for a visa through consular processing in your home country unless you plan to bring your spouse and minor children.

Your employer can file Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) on your behalf. You may also apply for TN nonimmigrant status at a US port of entry. When making your TN visa application at the border, you must present the following:

  • Evidence of your Canadian citizenship

  • Letter from your US employer detailing the job offer and educational qualifications

  • Credentials evaluation (If applicable)

After submitting your documents, the immigration official will review your application and make a decision based on the evidence provided. The officer will give you an I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Record) if the officer approves your application. As part of your travel record, you will find information about how long you are allowed to stay.

A spouse or child accompanying you must provide proof of their relationship to you, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate. If you are applying through a consulate, you must follow the same documentation procedures as Mexican nationals.

TN-2 Visa for Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens must obtain a visa to enter the United States as TN nonimmigrants. If you wish to apply for a TN visa in Mexico, you will have to do so at the US embassy or consulate there.

After attending an interview, you will receive a visa number. If the immigration officers approve your visa, they will issue you a stamped passport. You may then apply for entrance at a US port of entry.

Extending Your TN visa

Your employer may file Form I-129 to apply for an extension of your TN visa on your behalf. However, you must demonstrate that your job continues to fulfill the TN visa requirements. Alternatively, you can leave the US before your visa expires and apply at a US port of entry, as you did previously.


Is TN Visa Better Than H-1B?


TN visas are not better or worse than H-1B visas. They serve different purposes, and each is appropriate for certain situations.

A TN visa is a good option if you are Canadian or Mexican, meet the requirements to obtain one, and have an employer in the US who will sponsor your application.

H-1B visas require employers to petition on behalf of employees, and there is an annual limit on the number of visas that can be granted. However, H-1B visas allow for dual intent, meaning you can apply for a green card while on an H-1B visa.

Is It Possible to Convert a TN Visa Into a Permanent Residency Status?


You are eligible for TN nonimmigrant status until you file an adjustment of status application. After filing for a green card, you can no longer extend your TN visa status. TN visas are not dual intent visas. TN visa applicants declare that their stay is temporary, meaning they intend to depart when their visas expire.

Regardless of your concerns, you may transition to a green card through other ways, including:

  • Transitioning to a dual intent visa and applying for a green card

  • Your US citizen family member files an immigrant petition for you

  • Traveling abroad and applying through consular processing

Our team of experienced immigration attorneys can assist you in exploring your options and determining the best path to permanent residency. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


Speak to an Immigration Attorney Today


The TN visa procedure is complicated and involves several regulations and forms. Your TN visa may be denied if you don’t know and understand these procedures. We can clarify your options and guide your case at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law. We are knowledgeable about TN visa procedures. You will be able to avoid errors that could adversely affect your application if you do this.

Our legal team can assist you in preparing your TN visa application and collecting the necessary documentation. We can conduct an interview preparation and meet with you before you submit your TN visa application at the border. The process of obtaining a TN visa can be remarkably smooth if you have the right legal representation and counsel.

Our immigration lawyers can explain the visa process and answer any questions you may have about the TN visa. Call us today.