What is TN Status?

Here at Loigica, we assist a variety of foreign nationals in making their American visa and citizenship dreams come true. In past articles, we’ve explored the treaty trader visas, visa rules specific to non-treaty countries, and more. For our direct neighbors to the north and south, a unique work visa exists: the TN status. Let’s jump into an overview of who can get it, what the status enables, and how the process works. 

Who qualifies for the TN visa?

Certain residents of directly adjacent countries, Canada and Mexico, are eligible for TN status. Canadian and Mexican professionals with qualifying, pre-arranged U.S. job offers are eligible for TN nonimmigrant status to get U.S. work authorization. The arranged job must fall under the list of NAFTA professional categories (not specifically matching job titles, but relative and close), and the applicant must have the required educational background, which is typically a bachelor’s degree related to the field of employment.

What makes it different from other status types?

Aside from the very specific pool of eligible applicants, the benefits for TN are very desirable. For example, there is no specific season to apply, like for other work related status like H-1B visas, as TN status is granted all year long, case by case. There is also no cap on how many can be distributed. The status is granted initially for 3 years, and is renewable indefinitely, but the applicant should not wish to become a US Citizen. 

What is the process?

While the process is straightforward, an immigration attorney can refine applications and help organize deadlines, evidence, and other items needed for a strong application. When submitting the application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer needs to submit Form I-129 (“Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker”). This is the only case where the employer needs to submit the complete application, typically the employer only needs to provide a letter of support outlining the job, the dates of the position, its relation to a NAFTA category, compensation, and other basic information.

There are small differences between Canada and Mexico for the process. For example, in Canada, applicants must go through either the CBP and USCIS for new applications and for renewals. However, in Mexico, applicants must first go through the State Department to receive a visa foil before applying. Once status is achieved the first time, they can seek renewals through USCIS. 

If you are a foreign n national in Canada or Mexico looking to pursue a job offer in the United States, we can help streamline the process. Contact our US immigration attorneys today for a free consultation.