What You Should Know About the TN North American Free Trade Agreement Visa
The only people who can receive TN visas are those who have Mexican or Canadian citizenship. While Mexican employees can apply for TN-2 status, Canadians apply for TN-1 status. As long as you meet the basic requirements and fill out the paperwork properly, you are likely to be approved. There is no limit to the amount of TN visas issued each year.
In addition to being citizens of Mexico or Canada, applicants also need to have a career in one of the NFTA professions. They can be an accountant, architect, economist, forester, librarian, zoologist, and many other professions. Furthermore, there needs to be proof that the U.S. is in need of such a professional. They need to already have a part-time or full-time position lined up with an American employer. While on this visa, the individual has no option for self-employment.
The government does not just trust that visa applicants have the required skills for the job. Therefore, they require applicants to have credentials and meet the educational needs of the profession.
Cost and Timing of the Visa
Nonimmigrant work visas tend to be expensive. But the TN visa is more affordable than most. For mailed applications, the cost is about $460. You can also apply for a visa when you arrive at the port of entry to the U.S. This involves a $50 application fee.
If you apply upon arrival, it might take a few hours to process your application. But it takes much longer when you petition through the mail. In fact, it could take about six months or longer for processing. This timeline depends on the wait at your U.S.CIS center. Those who pay extra for premium processing get results in 15 days.
Extending Your Visa
Once approved, your original visa is only valid for three years. After that, you can choose to stay longer with your employer. You can continue renewing the visa every three years. To do so, you need to fill out Form I-129 and write a letter explaining why you need an extension.
If you leave your place of employment or your visa expires, you need to leave the country. There is no option for staying longer and no grace period.
A TN nonimmigrant status allows qualified Canadian or Mexican citizens who are professionals to work in the U.S. for a period of three years or less, with no intention of becoming permanent residents. What’s special about these types of visas is that NAFTA professionals may obtain them at any of the ports of entry, U.S. embassy, or U.S. pre-clearance facilities. NAFTA professionals must be hired in a specialty occupation of which dozens qualify. Here are just some of the many occupations on the NAFTA professional list:
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Hotel Manager
- Management consultant
- Range Manager
- Research Assistant
- Social Worker
- Urban Planner
- Registered Nurse
- Medical laboratory technologist
- Scientific technician
- University Professor
A TN visa allows for an individual’s temporary entry into the U.S. so they can work but not establish permanent residence.
Dependents and the TN Visa
If you have a TN visa and have minor children or a spouse, they may be able to come to the U.S. with you. They could be able to receive TD nonimmigrant status. With this status, they would be able to enter the country with you and stay for the same amount of time. During their time in the U.S., your loved ones cannot work. However, they can study.
To receive this status, they need to apply for it at a U.S. port of entry. They can also do so at a preflight inspection station.
How does a TN Nafta work visa?
If you meet the qualifications and want to work in the U.S. but are currently a citizen of Mexico or Canada, then you can travel to the United States and apply for your non-immigrant visa right at the border without having to wait several months like you would if you were applying for any other type of visa. It’s that simple, in theory. However, anything that relates to your TN status or receiving a TN visa could become complicated depending on your immigration record,
Learn about TN Status from Us
if you have any problems with documentation in the past or have any criminal convictions on your record. If you are thinking about coming to the U.S. and working with a TN visa, then we advise that you call Florida Immigration Law Counsel and ask us about how TN Status works before making an expensive journey to the U.S. You want to make sure that when you arrive in the U.S., you can stay and won’t be sent back.
What is Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Preclearance?
Prior to boarding the plane in their home country, the worker traveling under the NAFTA agreement can go through the inspection process in their home country. Then when they arrive in the U.S., they can bypass CPB as well as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspections and enter the U.S.
This is available to Canadian citizens only since there are only 16 preclearance locations worldwide and none in Mexico. In Canada, they are located in Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg.
Who qualifies for a TN visa?
In order to qualify, you must choose a position that has a fixed-term employment contract of three years or less. Additionally, your job must be in one of the eligible occupation categories for medical professionals, scientists, and other professionals. It is much better for your application if your education and training are consistent with the U.S. job that you have been offered.
You will need to provide proof of an offer of employment. This is typically a letter from your new employer that outlines:
- Your start and end date
- A description of your role and responsibilities
- Your salary or compensation
In addition to your application, you will need to include background information on the company itself. This information is typically acquired from the human resources department and includes the company’s size, revenue, and relevant data.
Although there are slight differences between what is required of Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens, most people hoping to get a NAFTA professional TN visa at the border will need the following to show U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials:
- Your employer’s offer letter
- Proof of citizenship of either Canada or Mexico
- Your resume (showing a baccalaureate or post-secondary degree)
- Documentation proving your intent to return to Canada or Mexico and when
- Past employment verification
- Proof of at least a baccalaureate degree
- If needed, confirmation from a professional association that has granted you any licenses or certifications
- Employment documentation
Is TN Visa better than H1B?
There are a few key differences between the H1B1 visa and the TN visa. First is that an unlimited amount of TNs can be issued to visa holders every year. However, there are caps on how many employment-based visas are given out. Every year the U.S. government only issues 140,000 green cards that are distributed between the five different employment-based immigrant visa preference categories: EB-1 through EB- 5. From there they are further limited with a 7% per-country cap on how many visas will be approved in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). For some people, this is the best way to work in the United States, but this process can take at least six months, and there is a backlog.
However, TN visas can be obtained right at the ports of entry to the United States, usually at an airport. Mexican citizens may also apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate before arriving at a U.S. port of entry, which is certainly an acceptable avenue and one you can take if you don’t want to risk arriving in the U.S. and not being allowed entry. But that’s exactly the appeal of these kinds of visas over the H1B1: if you aren’t planning on getting a green card in the U.S. and just want to work, then you can become a TN visa holder in a fraction of the time it would take waiting for another type of work visa.
Between the speed of being able to get a TN visa and the fact that there isn’t a limited amount available to Canadian and Mexican citizens, it can be a preferred choice for those seeking temporary entry for prearranged business activities.
The Difference Between TN Visas and H-1B Visas
It’s important to realize that TN and H-1B visas are not one in the same. They are both nonimmigrant visas but have a few key differences.
There are some advantages to receiving a TN visa. Unlike the H-1B, there is no cap on the number of visas. The U.S. government limits the amount of H-1B visas awarded each year. The application process is a lottery, and you may not be chosen.
Additionally, the H1-B visa is only good for three years. After that, you can extend it for as many as six years. But the TN visa has no limit to its extensions. You can continue extending it, as long as you are working.
Finally, the TN visa is more affordable than the H-1B visa. This makes it a better option for those looking for an affordable way to get into the U.S.
When is the H-1B Visa a Better Option?
Unlike the TN visa, the H-1B visa allows many different professionals to obtain the visa. For those who work in a field not included in the list of 60 NAFTA professions, the H-1B visa is a better option.
Another benefit of the H-1B visa is the ability to obtain green card status while on the visa. If you’re on a TN visa, you’re obligated to return to your country. Seeking a green card while you have a TN visa could result in consequences.
The only other reason to apply for an H-1B over a TN is the grace period. After your visa expires, you do have a grace period. After losing your job, you have 60 days to find a new employer or change your visa.
Source: Travel State
What does TN stand for in TN visa?
TN stands for “Trade National Visa” and was established as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to allow Canadian and Mexican citizens admission to the United States as well as employment in the United States for a specific period of stay. Typically foreign nationals who want to come to the U.S. need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or even an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Eligibility may also depend on the results of careful analysis of your post-secondary educational background and baccalaureate degree.
Choosing An Immigration Attorney
We offer a free consultation so we can learn how we can help you. During your consultation, you should have important documents ready such as:
- Your passport
- Any visas you may have
- Any marriage certificates or birth certificates that you have for your own children
- Arrest records or records of criminal convictions
- Any notifications or letters that you have received from immigration services.
How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help
It’s projected that Florida’s economy will expand by 2.4% in 2021. With such a strong outlook, there is job growth and demand for experienced workers. Professionals from other countries may be able to find work in the state. Often, that means applying for the right visa.
There are many challenges that come from the TN NAFTA visa process. In addition to costing money, it also takes time. To protect your time and money, you should work with an expert. An immigration lawyer in Florida can increase your likelihood of a successful application. As you go through the process, they can prevent you from making any critical mistakes.
Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we help people meet their goals of coming to the United States. Our legal professionals know all of the regulations regarding visas and immigration. We also know how to handle the paperwork that comes with the process. Contact us today for the guidance you need.
Why Choose Florida Immigration Law Counsel
Our immigration attorneys are ready to help Canadian and Mexican professionals if you have any questions regarding:
- Your TN visa application
- Questions about sponsoring spouses and children with a TN nonimmigrant visa
- Questions regarding the baccalaureate degree requirement
- Other questions that may be related to your visa application