Applicants must hold the minimum relevant degree requirement for the occupation in which they will be employed. Experience cannot be substituted for an academic degree. TN status is only valid for specific professional positions. To see which professions support a TN status, visit the NAFTA website.
The initial maximum period of TN authorization is one year, and the period of an extension is also one year. Like the H-1B, the individual is eligible to continue working for the same employer up to 240 days while a filed extension is pending. Unlike the H-1B, there is no statutory limit to the time an individual may hold TN status. Also, as with the H-1B, an individual may hold TN status for concurrent employers and may change employers under the same status, although it is not transferable.
Please note that TN status holders are not eligible to maintain TN status once they have applied for adjustment of status to permanent resident. TN professionals are generally permitted to study, as long as the study remains incidental to the TN employment.
Procedures for Canadians
If entering the U.S. from Canada, a visa is not necessary. A Canadian citizen may apply for TN status directly at a U.S. port of entry or at a designated airport pre-clearance station in Canada. The following must be submitted:
Canadians are admitted in TN status with Form I-94 only until the expiration date noted on the form. There is a one-year maximum.
Procedures for Mexicans
Citizens of Mexico are eligible for admission under TN status after having first obtained a TN visa, or, if already in the U.S., through a change of status. If TN status is obtained through a change of status and the individual, and any dependents, subsequently depart the U.S., a TN visa must be obtained in order to re-enter the U.S.
To apply for a TN visa, the applicant must submit the following, in addition to the standard State Department visa application with fee, to a U.S. Consulate:
Once the visa has been affixed in the passport, the individual is eligible to enter the U.S. to commence employment. Mexican citizens who are already legally present in the U.S. may obtain TN status through a change of status request. The procedure for this is identical to that of applying for an extension of TN status.