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Trade NAFTA (TN Visa) FAQs

What are the basic requirements of TN Visa?
An alien must possess the necessary credentials to be considered a qualifying professional under this category. A Bachelor’s degree or higher is usually required to be considered a professional in the TN category. Furthermore, the alien must intend to depart the U.S. upon completion of his authorized status. As a result, if the alien applies for permanent residence while he is in TN status, he will have difficulty in obtaining renewal of his TN status. Mexican nationals are required to have TN visas before they may be admitted to the U.S. in this status, whereas Canadian nationals need only apply with the USICS at the border and bypass the visa requirement.

Can I enter the U.S. on a tourist visa (or a visa waiver), then switch to a work visa once I am offered a job?
According to the regulations, a tourist visa is for just tourism. There are other good reasons to enter on a tourist visa, but the good reason should always be fully disclosed to the officer issuing the visa. If you enter the U.S. as tourist, then receive an unforeseen job offer, you may be able to show that entering to work was not your initial intent. If the officers are convinced that you entered with no intention to find employment, they should ultimately approve the new visa and stamp it.

But, if they are not convinced of your original intention to enter as a tourist only, they may deny the visa on the grounds that they suspect fraudulent intent connected with obtaining the tourist visa.

What is the difference between TN & H-1B visa?
Some differences between TN & H-1B Visa:

  1. Unlike H-1B visa, TN visa do not have any statutory limitations. However, TN visa and H-1B visa can be granted for three year periods but only TN can be extended almost with no limits.
  2. TN visas also cover a broader range of job categories.
  3. H-1B visa allows dual intent. You can work on nonimmigrant H-1B status and sill file for Immigrant Visa. Doctrine of dual intent is inapplicable to TN visa holders.

Can a TN Visa Holder be self-employed in the U.S.?
No. TN visa holder may not be self-employed in U.S. However, a person owning an interest (even controlling) in the Canadian company who has entered into a contract with the U.S. Company to perform management consultancy may be granted TN status.

What are the documents required to support a TN Visa application?
Documentation must include proof of citizenship, employer’s letter offering the job and listing detailed duties to be performed, copies of all educational transcripts, diplomas/degrees and the professional activity to be engaged in. Also required is the evaluation report in case of foreign degree or educational credentials.

What visas are available to TN visa holder’s spouse and children?
Spouses and unmarried children will get a TD visa. They shall not accept any employment in the U.S. unless they are otherwise authorized by the USCIS.