- Canadians can apply for the TN-1 visa while Mexicans are eligible for the TN-2 visa.
- The visa is valid for a maximum of 3 years
- If the applicant is working with more than 1 employer, multiple TN visas will be needed
- Canadians can apply for the TN visa at the US border or at the US airport
America is home to a number of immigrants. Most people move here in search of better jobs. Canadians and Mexicans can apply for the TN visa if they have a job in the USA. Read on to find out more about this visa.
In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into being. This agreement between the USA, Canada and Mexico covers customs procedures, government procurement, investment, trade in services etc. The agreement also permits citizens of the three countries to travel freely between them for business purposes with a Treaty National (TN) visa.
What is a TN visa?
The TN visa was designed for Canadians and Mexicans with legitimate offers to work in the United States of America. Canadians can apply for the TN-1 visa while Mexicans are eligible for the TN-2 visa. The visa is very similar to the HB1 visa.
Who is eligible for the TN visa?
The TN visa is the easiest way to get a work visa in the USA. To be eligible for this visa the applicant must meet the following criteria.
- He or she must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico – permanent residents of both countries are not eligible for this visa.
- The applicant must have a job offer that is included in the NAFTA Appendix 1603.D job list.
- The job must require a NAFTA professional.
- The applicant must have all the necessary qualification, educational experience and work experience needed to work in the chosen industry. Work experience cannot be used as a substitute for educational qualifications.
- The job must be offered by an American, Canadian or Mexican employer. Self-employment is not permitted.
- The applicant must not intend on migrating to America permanently.
This visa permits the applicant to bring his or her spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years with them to the USA.
For this, the applicant must prove the relationship with the person through a marriage certificate or birth certificate. Dependents are given a TD visa which allows them to stay in the USA but does not permit them to work.
Applying for a TN visa
The process of applying for a TN visa is slightly different for Canadians and Mexicans. The main difference is that Canadians can apply for the visa at a US airport or when they reach the US border while Mexicans must apply for the visa at the US consulate.
Applying for the TN-1 visa – For Canadians
When applying for a TN-1 visa it is important to remember that the visa permits the applicant to work with only 1 employer. Thus, if the applicant will be working with more than 1 employer, separate TN1 visas are required for each employer.
The visa can be applied for at the U border or on reaching the US airport. Documentation required for a TN-1 visa application includes:
- A valid passport, any previous passports and I-94s
- The applicants most recent resume
- 2×2 photograph
- Job description for the employer stating the length of the project, salary and the type of business
- Proof that the applicant is qualified for the position. This can take the form of certificates of educational qualifications and their US equivalent. English translated are required if certificates are in any language other than English.
- Social security number
- Address in Canada
- Employment contract
- Proof that the company can pay the applicant
- License to work in the USA if relevant
These documents will be scrutinized by the US border officials. The applicant may also be interviewed. Once the application is accepted, the applicant will be given an electronic I-94 card.
Canadian citizens can also apply for a TN-1 visa at the USCIS website. However, the visa processing fees at the US border are considerably lower and the applicant will be instantly told if his application has been accepted or rejected.
The visa fee payable when applying at the US border amounts to USD 50. An additional fee of USD 6 must be paid for the I-94. In the case of applying online, the application can take a few months to be processed and if rejected, the applicant may have to leave the USA.
Applying for the TN-2 visa – For Mexicans
Mexican citizens between the ages of 14 and 79 years with a job offer in the USA can apply for the TN-2 visa. Unlike the TN-1 visa, the TN-2 visa application must be submitted at the American consulate or embassy in Mexico before travelling to the USA. To be eligible for this visa the applicant must have the following documents.
- Proof of Mexican citizenship
- A Mexican passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the applicant plans on reaching the USA
- An employment offer from a profession that is included in the NAFTA approved list of professions
- Copies of all relevant educational degrees and licenses
- Proof that the applicant intends on staying in the USA for no longer than three years
The applicant will need to fill in the DS-156 nonimmigrant visa application form or the DS-157 supplemental nonimmigrant visa application if he is between the age of 16 and 45 years. These forms are available online.
After these documents are submitted at the US embassy, the applicant will be interviewed by a visa officer. A visa processing fee of USD 160 is payable at this time. The applicant will then be given a non-immigrant visa. This visa will have a length of stay permitted mentioned on it. However, at the US border, the officials may stamp a different period of stay.
How to Extend a TN Visa
A TN visa is valid for a maximum of three years. At the end of this time period, if the applicant wants to continue working in the USA, the visa will need to be extended. In such cases, the employer will have to file an I-129 extension petition. This petition must be filed within the last 6 months of visa validity.
It can take 2 to 7 months for the petition to be processed. For an extra fee, the petition can be put through premium processing that takes only 15 days. Alternatively, the applicant may leave the USA and reapply at the border.
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