What is the “TN Visa?” Are you and/or your family eligible? Below, I will tackle some frequently asked questions that I commonly receive as an immigration lawyer in Miami:
How was the TN Visa first introduced?
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, and teachers. You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if:
- You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Your profession qualifies under the regulations;
- The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
- You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment – see documentation required below); and
- You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
Who is eligible for the TN Visa?
Unlike Mexican citizens, Canadian citizens are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa. The TN category, a nonimmigrant classification, simply reflects this general exemption from the visa requirement. NAFTA governs which evidence is required to prove whether a Canadian or Mexican citizen is a professional in a qualifying profession.
How do I establish eligibility for the TN Visa as a Canadian citizen?
If you are a Canadian citizen, then you are not required to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate.
You may establish eligibility for TN classification at the time you seek admission to the United States by presenting required documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.
Alternatively, a prospective TN employer may choose to file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is outside the United States.
If you are thinking of obtaining a TN Visa, it may be wise to seek the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney in Miami or elsewhere.
How do I establish eligibility for the TN Visa as a Mexican Citizen?
If you are a Mexican citizen, then you are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. You should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.
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.
Again, if you are thinking of obtaining a TN Visa, it may be wise to seek the counsel of a Miami immigration lawyer.
What is the initial period of stay for the TN Visa?
The initial period of stay for someone on a TN Visa is 3 years. If you wish to remain in the United States beyond your initial period of stay 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.
Alternatively, you may depart from the United States before the date your status expires, and then, once abroad, you may apply at a CBP-designated U.S. port of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station using the same application and documentation procedures required at the time of your initial application for admission as a TN nonimmigrant. I would highly recommend that you speak with a Miami immigration lawyer about your specific case.
Are any of my family members allowed to join me in the United States while I am on a TN Visa?
Yes. 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 towork 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.
For more information about whether your family member can join you in the United States while on the TN Visa, I would highly recommend that you speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.
How do I extend my TD Nonimmigrant Stay?
If a Canadian or Mexican TN nonimmigrant applies for an extension of stay in the United States at the end of his or her period of admission or authorization as a TN, any eligible TD family member may also apply to extend their status without the need to travel abroad.
If a Mexican TD dependent wishes to travel abroad following approval of any such extension of stay and expiration of the TD visa, the family member will be required to apply for a new TD visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate before being permitted to return to the United States in TD status.
If you think would like more information on the TN visa, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305)895-2500 or visit our website at www. mmurraylaw.com