Simple Ways to Qualify for a TN visa under NAFTA

The US Court of Appeals struck down the New York State law requiring US citizenship or permanent residency as a condition to obtaining a pharmacist’s license. This could have affected foreign pharmacists who had entered New York State under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which requires nonimmigrant status.

TN NAFTA Professionals

A special economic and trade relations formed by the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), offer TN visas or permits to eligible Canadians and Mexican citizens.

The TN permit grants citizens of Canada and Mexico to enter the United States for temporary business work or engage into business pursuits in their professional capacity.

Professional Classifications

Some types of professionals who are qualified to enter the US as TN visa holders are the following:

  • scientists
  • lawyers
  • engineers
  • accountants
  • pharmacists
  • teachers

Requirements for TN visas and permits

  • You must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen
  • Your profession must be one of the types of professions under NAFTA
  • The position you are seeking in the US demands a NAFTA professional
  • You must have arranged in advance a full time or part time employment with a US employer
  • You possess the qualifications of the profession

Eligibility for Canadians

Another benefit of being a Canadian is you are exempt from visa requirement under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). You do not have to apply for a certain visa with a US consulate or file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) because you may proceed to the port of entry and request to be admitted to the US as a TN visa holder.


Documents required at the port of entry

Before crossing the border or passing through the port of entry, you must present the following documents:

  • Evidence of your Canadian citizenship
  • A letter of your prospective US employer stating the details of the professional job that you were offered.
    • purpose of employment
    • period of stay in the US
    • educational attainment
  • if necessary, you must have your credential evaluation

Eligibility for Mexican Citizens

Like Canadians, Mexican citizens are also not required to file a petition with the USCIS, but you are under obligation to apply for a visa at a US embassy or consulate in Mexico to travel to the United States as a TN visa holder.

  • You may apply for admission at a port of entry after you are approved as a TN visa holder.
  • You will be admitted to the US after you have passed the inspection by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.

Accompanying family of a TN visa holder

The family members of a TN visa holder can enter the US with his or her family members who may be permitted to acquire TD nonimmigrant status.

  • Accompanying family members must prove a bona fide spousal relationship or parent-child relationship to you.
  • While the spouse or the children of a TN visa holder cannot work while in the US, they are allowed to study.
  • Dependents of a TN visa holder do not have to be Mexican or Canadian citizen on this point. However they should contact the US embassy or consulate in their place for the details on how to obtain a visa.

Getting help

If you want to work under NAFTA program, you may seek the legal assistance of our skilled New York Immigration Attorneys at Niren and Associates, a firm that has been providing immigration services for decades.

Take the first step of speaking to our skillful lawyers by calling (212) 810-2976 or sending your message to [email protected].

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.