The North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) provides a unique, temporary working visa status for Canadian citizens referred to as “TN” status. Some of the characteristics of this status are the following:
- valid in increments of one to three years.
- renewable without any particular limitation or “cap”.
- may be obtained at port of entry without any advance processing.
- minimal filing fee.
The basic requirements for TN status are the following:
- an offer of employment in one of the specific occupations listed in the appendix to NAFTA
- possession of a least a U.S. Bachelor’s Degree (or a Canadian three year baccalaureate degree)in a related field (there are a few exceptions to the degree requirement).
Some of the more useful occupations designated on the approved list are the following (note: consult Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA for a complete listing of approved occupations):
Accountant, Architect, Computer Systems Analyst (Bachelor’s Degree or two years Post-Secondary Diploma plus three years experience), Engineer, Management Consultant (requires Bachelor’s Degree or five years experience), Mathematician, Research Assistant (in educational institution), Scientific Technician, Medical/Allied Professionals, including Dentists, Nurses, Pharmacists, Physical Therapists, Veterinarians, and others), Medical Doctors (teaching or research only), Scientists, Teachers (college or above only)
An application for entry to the U.S. in TN status is generally made at a U.S. port of entry. In most cases no appointment or prior screening is required. Evidence of Canadian citizenship, proof of a qualifying job offer in the form of a detailed letter, and evidence of academic qualifications is required for applicants already in the U.S. in another status, it may be possible to seek a change of status through USCIS without leaving the country.