Overview

Your company wishes to hire a Canadian or Mexican citizen to work as a ‘professional’ and the foreign worker requires a work visa.

Does the Foreign Worker Qualify for a TN?

In order to qualify for a TN visa the foreign worker must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen entering the United States to work full-time or part-time for a U.S. employer as a ‘professional’. The ‘profession’ must qualify under the regulations and the foreign worker must have the qualifications to practice the ‘profession’. See the list of TN professions.

How Does the Foreign Worker Acquire a TN Visa?

Canadian Citizen

The U.S. employer files a TN petition and a letter in support along with required documentation with the USCIS Vermont Service Center. Once the TN petition is approved by the USCIS, the approval notice is forwarded to the U.S. employer. The U.S. employer forwards the approval notice to the foreign worker who, when physically entering the United States, presents it to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at a port of entry. The CBP officer will admit the foreign worker to the United States in TN status for a 3 year period. The CBP officer also issues a TD visa to any spouse and minor (under 21 and unmarried) child(ren) of the foreign worker. Upon issuance of the TN and TD visas, the foreign worker, spouse and any child(ren) enter the United States. If the foreign worker, spouse and any child(ren) are already in the United States in valid status (visitor or other legal status) then the foreign worker may begin employment upon issuance of the USCIS approval and the spouse and child(ren) may remain.

The Canadian citizen may instead apply for TN status directly with the CBP at a Class ‘A’ land port of entry or United States pre-clearance station at an airport in Canada. The Canadian citizen does not file a TN petition but must provide a letter in support along with required documentation. Again, the CBP officer will admit the foreign worker to the United States in TN status for a 3 year period. The CBP officer also issues a TD visa to any spouse and minor (under 21 and unmarried) child(ren) of the foreign worker. Upon issuance of the TN and TD visas, the foreign worker, spouse and any child(ren) enter the United States.

Mexican Citizen

Similarly, the U.S. employer files a TN petition and a letter in support along with required documentation with the USCIS Vermont Service Center. Once the TN petition is approved by the USCIS, it is forwarded to the United States consulate in Mexico nearest the foreign worker’s foreign residence. The Mexican citizen completes form DS-160 online and the United States consulate conducts an interview and issues the foreign worker a TN visa valid for 3 years. The United States consulate also issues a TD visa to any spouse and minor (under 21 and unmarried) child(ren) of the foreign worker. Upon issuance of the TN and TD visas, the foreign worker, spouse and any child(ren) may enter the United States. If the foreign worker, spouse and any child(ren) are already in the United States in valid status (visitor or other legal status) then the foreign worker may begin employment upon issuance of the USCIS approval and the spouse and child(ren) may remain.

The Mexican citizen may instead apply for a TN visa directly with the United States consulate in Mexico. The Mexican citizen does not file a TN petition but must provide a letter in support along with required documentation. Again, the Mexican citizen completes form DS-160 online and the United States consulate conducts an interview and issues the foreign worker a TN visa valid for 3 years. The United States consulate also issues a TD visa to any spouse and minor (under 21 and unmarried) child(ren) of the foreign worker. Upon issuance of the TN and TD visas, the foreign worker, spouse and any child(ren) may enter the United States.

The TN visa process is complicated and time-consuming. We suggest the retention of an experienced immigration attorney well versed in the complexities of the process. The attorneys at CLG can efficiently guide you through each step of the process with the end goal of obtaining the TN visa as quickly as possible.

Additional Questions?

If you are unfamiliar with what is required, you may wish to take a moment to learn more about the TN process, to review the requirements for the TN visa, the associated visa fees and the timelines for the TN petition process.