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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created TN NAFTA Professionals (TN) status to ease the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens who come to the U.S. to work temporarily.

TN applicants must:

  • Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • Engage in activities at a professional level (professional level refers to occupations which require the individual to have at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials in a profession set forth by Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA)
  • Enter the U.S. on a temporary basis (temporary basis means entry without the intent to establish permanent residence). The individual must confirm to the U.S. consular officer or inspecting immigration officer that the proposed stay is temporary. A temporary period has a reasonable and finite end that does not equate to permanent residence. TN status is not appropriate for employees holding a tenure-track appointment.
  • Only work for the petitioner performing the duties described in the offer letter

New TN Status Upon Entry to the U.S.

Hiring departments must consult with Immigration Affairs before a prospective employee seeks entry in TN status. Upon approval, we will authorize the employing department to proceed with the request process.

At the port-of-entry (by land or air), Canadian TN applicants must present the documents listed below to the U.S. immigration inspector for adjudication. Mexican applicants must first apply for a TN visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, providing the documents listed below as a part of the visa application. Presentation of these documents is not a guarantee that the TN visa (for Mexicans only), or TN status and entry to the U.S. will be granted. The U.S. consular official or immigration officer will evaluate each case on its own merits according to the federal rules governing TN status.

The following are required for entry to the U.S. in TN status:

  • A valid Canadian or Mexican passport as proof of citizenship
  • Proof of possession of a professional degree in a field listed in the appendix of occupations found in the TN regulations
  • Degrees, diplomas, or certificates received by the beneficiary from an educational institution located outside of the U.S., Canada or Mexico must be accompanied by a certified translation or reliable credentials evaluation service which specializes in such evaluations.
  • A job verification letter from a U.S. employer for a professional position describing the work to be done, the beginning and ending dates of the employment, payment arrangements, and a review of the applicant’s qualifications which demonstrate professional status (see a sample letter)
  • Fee payment
  • Canadian nationals will pay a fee to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
  • Mexican nationals will pay a fee at the U.S. consulate for the TN visa, but no fee to CBP at the U.S. port-of-entry.

If all is in order, the TN status will be granted at the U.S. port-of-entry. The TN status will be indicated on the applicant's Form I-94 and passport.  It may be valid for a period of up to three years from the date of entry, and can be extended for up to three years at a time (for TN status, there must be an approved appointment and guaranteed funding for the requested TN period). There is no maximum amount of time that a TN status holder may hold their status. However, TN status holders must not intend to establish permanent residence in the U.S.  The TN applicant must confirm to the consular officer or U.S. immigration officer that the proposed stay is temporary.

Upon the TN status holder’s successful entry to the U.S., the hiring department must contact Immigration Affairs and provide copies of the TN status holder’s I-94 card and other immigration documents. Documents can be sent to

Changes to TN Status and Extensions of Stay in TN Status

Change or extensions of TN status may be accomplished by Immigration Affairs filing a petition with USCIS or by exiting and reentering the U.S. Please note that citizens of Mexico must have or obtain a valid TN visa before applying for entry to the U.S.


The initial period of stay is up to three years. TN status can be renewed indefinitely as long as all eligibility criteria is met.


Dependents of TN status holders are granted TD nonimmigrant status. TD status holders are not allowed to accept employment or receive payment of any kind.