TN Visa Eligibility for Canadian and Mexican Citizens

Learn about the eligibility rules of this employment-based visa option for workers from Canada and Mexico.

For Canadian and Mexican citizens who practice certain professional occupations and who have a job offer from a U.S. employer, there’s an available alternative to traditional types of visas such as an H-1B. This is called TN status.

TN status lasts one year, and can be renewed in one-year increments, with no limit on renewals.

You don’t necessarily have to be coming to the U.S. for a job. TN status can also be used by people coming for temporary training related to their profession or to conduct seminars.

At present, only the occupations listed below qualify for TN status. A bachelor’s or licensure degree from a college or university is required, unless an alternative is shown in parentheses.

You Need a U.S. Employer

You must have a U.S. employer; TN status is not available for self-employment in the United States. For some professions, there are requirements in addition to a degree. These, too, are shown in parentheses below. Whenever a license is required, either a federal Canadian, Mexican, or a U.S. licensing agency from any province or state is acceptable.

List of TN Occupations

The occupations that qualify a Canadian or Mexican citizen for TN status are:

  • accountant
  • architect (degree or license)
  • computer systems analyst (with a college degree, postsecondary diploma, or postsecondary certificate and three years’ experience)
  • dentist (professional degree or license)
  • disaster relief claims adjuster (training plus a degree or three years’ experience)
  • economist
  • engineer (degree or license)
  • forester (degree or license)
  • graphic designer (degree or postsecondary diploma plus three years’ experience)
  • hotel manager (licensure degree, or diploma or certificate plus three years’ experience)
  • industrial designer (degree, or certificate or diploma plus three years’ experience)
  • interior designer (degree, or certificate or diploma plus three years’ experience)
  • land surveyor (degree or license)
  • landscape architect
  • lawyer (member of Canadian, Mexican, or U.S. bar)
  • librarian (Master’s degree)
  • management consultant (degree or five years’ experience)
  • mathematician (including statistician)
  • medical professions:
    • dietitian (degree or license)
    • medical lab technologist (degree, or certificate or diploma plus three years’ experience)
    • nutritionist
    • occupational therapist (degree or license)
    • pharmacist (degree or license)
    • physician (M.D.; teaching or research position only)
    • physio/physical therapist (degree or license)
    • psychologist
    • recreational therapist
    •  registered nurse (license)
    • veterinarian (professional degree or license)
  • range manager or conservationist
  • research assistant (for colleges or universities only)
  • scientific technician (degree not required if you are working with professionals in: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics)
  • scientist working as:
    • agronomist
    • agriculturist
    • animal breeder
    • animal scientist
    • apiculturist
    • astronomer
    • biochemist
    • biologist
    • chemist
    • dairy scientist
    • entomologist
    • epidemiologist
    • geneticist
    • geochemist
    • geologist
    • geophysicist
    • horticulturist
    • meteorologist
    • pharmacologist
    • physicist
    • plant breeder
    • poultry scientist
    • soil scientist
    • zoologist
  • social worker
  • silviculturist
  • teacher (at a college, university, or seminary only)
  • technical publications writer (degree, diploma, or certificate plus three years’ experience)
  • urban planner, and
  • vocational counselor.

TN Visa is For Temporary Visits Only

The person seeking TN status must be coming to the U.S. temporarily, to engage in business activities at a professional level. A person who intends to separately apply for a green card while in the U.S. can be denied TN status, because that’s a violation the requirement that the applicant intends to stay in the U.S. only temporarily.

The person must also meet the minimum requirements for the profession or occupation in question, as set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of NAFTA (also found at 8 C.F.R. § 2145.6(c)).

For more information on your eligibility, or help with the application process, consult an immigration attorney, most likely in the state where your job opportunity exists. (However, attorneys in border states often have the most experience with NAFTA issues.)

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