The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, teachers, and many other professions listed on the NAFTA list. You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if:
- You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Your profession is on the NAFTA list;
- The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
- You have a prearranged with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment); and
- You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
If you are a Mexican citizen, then you are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant.
Once you are approved for a TN visa, you may apply for admission at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. If a CBP officer finds you eligible for admission, then you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
If you wish to remain in the United States beyond your initial period of stay (which could be up to 3 years) without first departing from the United States, you must seek an extension of stay. If you are in the United States, your employer may file Form I-129 on your behalf.
Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants
Any accompanying or “following to join” spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. Spouses and children are:
- Not permitted to work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study.
- Granted TD status for no longer than the period of time granted to the principal TN nonimmigrant.
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