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Everything you need to know about the TN NAFTA Visa

Obtaining-TN-VisaTN stands for “Trade Nafta”. This Visa originates from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed between the United States, Canada and Mexico. His main objective is to facilitate workforce’s mobility among those three countries.

The TN Visa is a work visa available to many Canadian citizens who want to work in the United States. We present hereunder the main criteria to qualify under this Visa.

What are the requirements to qualify?

The TN Work Visa is available for more than 60 professions listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 of Chapter 16 of the NAFTA. Among those professions, we find:

  • Architects
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Lawyers (notaries in Quebec)
  • Chemists
  • Accountants
  • Management Consultants
  • Engineers
  • Scientific Technicians in the following field : biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, physics, etc.
  • Etc.

The first requirement you must meet is to have a job offer in the professions listed in the laws and regulations. In most cases, you will also need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in the field of study related to your U.S. job. Some categories (e.g. Management Consultant, Computer Systems Analyst, and Scientific Technician) do not require a baccalaureate but professional experience will be needed to qualify.

The TN Visa is a temporary work visa enabling you to work in your field of expertise for a US or Canadian employer. You are entitled to be remunerated in the US. Your job functions must comply with those permitted by your TN Visa. As such, a lawyer can’t use his Bachelor’s Degree in law to work in the US as a Sales Representatives for a car company! He must perform duties related to law without being obliged to hold the title “Lawyer”.

You must know that you do not have to work full-time in the United States in order to qualify for TN status. For instance, you may enter the US on a sporadic part-time basis each year. In such case, your Canadian employer could sponsor your application for your visa to permit your entry in the US to conduct work in the US territory. For example, a Canadian Engineer from the company XYZ Canada Inc. who needs to provide after-sales technical services to US clients could be eligible for TN status in the Engineer category.

What is the procedure to obtain TN Visa?

The TN Visa procedure is one of the fastest among all US Visas. It is a pretty straight-forward process as you do not have to submit any forms. A Canadian citizen can present his application directly at a US port of entry when travelling to the US. The file preparation is also a lot faster than other US Visas. Your file can usually be finalized in days or weeks. Most important for you is to have a thorough and complete application package when requesting your Visa at the US border.

What is the validity period of the TN Visa?

The TN Visa is valid for 3 years. It can be renewed indefinitely as there is no limit of time spent in the US as for other visas like the L1A/L1B Intra-company Visa. The Visa is temporary and the applicant must not demonstrate his intent to permanently immigrate to US or the application may be refused. A person that wants to apply for the US green card should consider the H1B Visa as an alternative.

How much cost a TN visa?

The professional fees charged to prepare a TN Visa vary from $1,500 to $2000 CDN depending on the complexity of the case. The fees payable to the US government are $50. Thus, it is an affordable Visa.

For information in regards to getting a US work visa, read our article on the subject.

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