While there are many different kinds of visas in the United States, some are much more specific than others. US visas are broadly defined as Immigrant visas or Nonimmigrant visas.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas are for people moving permanently to the United States. Types of Immigrant Visas include:

  • Immediate Relative/Family Sponsored
  • Employer sponsored
  • Diversity Immigrant Visa
  • Returning Residents

Nonimmigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant visas are for temporary visits to the U.S. This includes trips for tourism, family, temporary business affairs or work, and studying. Types of Nonimmigrant Visas include:

  • Athletes competing for prize money
  • Au pair (exchange visitor)
  • Diplomats or Foreign Officials
  • Free Trade Agreement professional (FTA)
  • Students
  • Temporary agricultural workers
  • Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR
  • and many more

Most Canadians don’t require a visa in order to enter the United States (can work under a simplified procedure with a NEXUS card or an Enhanced Drivers License if traveling by land or sea)

As you can see, there are many different visa options depending on individual circumstances for getting into the United States. However, one of the less known options could apply to you if you’re coming to the U.S. from Mexico or Canada.


What is the TN Visa?

A TN visa, or Nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional visa, is a type of U.S. visa that allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals for American or foreign employers. The TN Visa does not apply to those who are self-employed.

This visa was created by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to continue strengthening economic ties between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. TN Visas facilitate employment of Canadian and Mexican professionals in the States for temporary, pre-arranged business and prioritizes them over the high volume of other Nonimmigrant Visa applicants since visas can take a long time to process.

Many different kinds of professionals can be applicable for a TN Visa. Accounts, economists, professors, engineers, lawyers, management consultants, nurses, veterinarians, and many additional types of professionals may be applicable to receive a TN Visa.

Here is a full list of eligible professions.


Other requirements include:

  • Canadian or Mexican citizenship
  • Being a qualified NAFTA professional
  • Proof that the US position requires a NAFTA professional
  • You have the necessary qualifications for your profession by U.S. standards
  • There is a pre-arranged position for you
  • Self-employment is not allowed for TN Visas


Canadian Professionals – TN-1

Typically, Canadian citizens do not need a TN visa to enter the U.S., but a NAFTA professional visa can allow them to bring dependents with them to the States. The dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) are eligible to receive a TD nonimmigrant visa with the professional’s TN visa. They are not allowed to work with this visa, but can study in the U.S.

  • Canadian professionals wanting to receive a TN visa will need:
  • Proof that they’re a Canadian citizen
  • Letter from prearranged employer explaining the professional capacity you will be needed to work in, how long you will stay, educational qualifications and certifications, and purpose of employment
  • If applicable, a credentials evaluation
  • Applicable fees

Canadian citizens seeking a TN visa are not required to apply at the U.S. Consulate, but may present necessary documentation to a Customers and Border Protection (CBP) at certain CBP U.S. ports of entry.


Mexican Professionals – TN-2

Mexican citizens should apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate while still in Mexico, and can apply for admission at CBP-designated ports of entry once approved for a TN visa.

Otherwise, the requirements are the same for a TN-2 visa for Mexican citizens as a TN-1 visa for Canadian citizens.


Cost of a TN visa

If petitioning for a TN visa by mail, a $460 filing fee applies. If you seek a TN visa status at the border or a CBP-designated port of entry, a $50 application fee and additional $6 fee for your arrival and departure card applies.


Why You Should Hire an Expert

Immigration status and visas of any type can be time-consuming, expensive, and frustrating. The last thing you want to do is waste your time and money only to find out you filled the paperwork out incorrectly or didn’t have the correct necessary documentation.

The ideal situation is having an expert in the field help navigate the visa application process to ensure that the visa appplication goes smoothly and you get into the U.S. without any unwanted surprises.


Thank you for reading our legal blog. We are Loit & Associates – Mexican Law Attorneys and Specialists. If you need legal help with applying for or undertanding your options for a visa, our experienced lawyers can help.