This article discusses the TN visa process and validity for citizens of Canada and Mexico.
The TN visa is a temporary visa that allows a citizen of Canada or Mexico that is a member of one of the listed NAFTA professions to live and work in the United States and conduct business at a professional level with sponsorship or employment from a US company.
The TN visa applicant can bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to live in the US. If approved, the spouse and children are admitted to the United States on a TD status and they are not allowed to work during their stay in the US. However, they can attend any educational institution, including private and public schools and universities.
1. What is the TN visa process for Canadian citizens?
When applying for TN status, Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a physical visa in their passports at a US Consulate or Embassy in Canada. Instead, Canadian citizens that already have a prearranged job in their profession in the United States can seek admission to the United States on a TN status directly at the US-Canada border without having to visit a US Consulate or to file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS.
TN status process at US border.
After preparing the TN application, Canadian citizens can apply for TN status at three locations – U.S. Class A port-of-entry, a U.S. pre-clearance/ pre-flight station or an international U.S. airport (arrivals only).
Each location has its own process for TN status applications and the applicant must contact the location in advance to determine its specific rules. The applications for TN status are adjudicated the same day by the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer. If the TN is submitted at an airport, then the applicant must apply the same day as his or her flight.
If approved the CBP officer issues an I-94 record as evidence of TN status but does not put a TN visa stamp in the passport.
TN status process via USCIS
Alternatively, to obtain TN status, a prospective US employer can file the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and supporting documents with USCIS on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is outside of the United States. For this petition premium processing of 15 days is available to receive an answer from USCIS.
If USCIS approves the petition, then the prospective employee Canadian citizen can apply to CBP at the US ports or pre-clearance/pre-flights locations for admission to the United States on a TN status. The applicant must provide a copy of the petition, approval notice and supporting documents to the CBP officer.
2. What is the TN visa process for Mexican citizens?
When applying for TN status, citizens of Mexico are required to file an application for a TN visa with the US Consulate or Embassy in Mexico and obtain a physical TN visa in their passport prior to travelling to the United States.
To apply for a TN visa at the US Embassy or Consulate in Mexico and be admitted to the United States on a TN status, the applicant must compete a number of steps in the following order:
A. Complete and file online Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You can access the online DS-160 by clicking here.
B. After you complete and submit form DS-160 you have to print the DS-160 confirmation page, the DS-160 barcode page, and keep it for the consular interview.
C. Schedule a visa interview appointment for your TN visa by clicking here and pay your $160 visa issuance fee.
D. Bring to the interview all the documents necessary for the TN visa. You should prepare the following documents for your TN visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate:
- Passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Form DS-160 confirmation page with barcode
- Payment receipt for the visa issuance
- Contract or letter of employment in the United States for the TN visa. The letter must include detailed information about the US company, position and the TN visa applicant
- Proof that you are qualified for the position and you meet the minimum education and/or work experience for the NAFTA profession for which you are hired including college diploma, degrees, professional licenses and certificates, memberships in professional associations. In order to show that you meet the minimum work experience required, you must provide letters from past employer or if you were self-employed you must provide records of your business.
E. Prepare and attend your TN visa interview. If your TN visa is approved then the consular officer will inform you how to get your passport back with the visa. If after the interview further processing is necessary the officer will inform you.
3. What is the TN visa validity period?
The TN visa is valid and can be issued for a maximum of 3 years. After, the TN visa can be renewed indefinitely, but the approval of the renewal is not guaranteed.
Malescu Law can assist
Our TN Visa Lawyers in Miami, Florida USA can assist with understanding the TN visa, advise on TN visa process and requirements, prepare and file the initial application or renewal for TN visa and provide guidance concerning the TN visa and other visa options available. Contact us or book a consultation.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers