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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Business Professionals from Canada and Mexico: The TN Visa



Citizens from Canada and Mexico may apply for temporary admission to the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.  This is known as the TN non-immigrant classification.

The TN visa is a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of the NAFTA provides a list of professional activities that are eligible for TN classification.  Generally, the professional activities require a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Among the professionals listed are lawyers, engineers, accountants, computer systems analysts, teachers and graphic designers.

The visa is initially issued for a three year period.  It is a multi-entry visa, which means that the visa holder may travel outside of the United States and return during the three year period without applying for a new visa.  The visa holder may apply for an extension while in the United States.  Extensions can be granted in up to three year intervals.

Canadian citizens may apply at a U.S. port of entry.  A citizen of Mexico must apply at a U.S. consulate in Mexico.  To apply, the applicant must show proof of citizenship, and a letter from the prospective employer stating the applicant’s professional capacity, the purpose of the stay, the length of stay, and the applicant’s educational qualifications. The applicant may also need to provide credential evaluations.

There are no limits on the number of extensions that a person may apply for.  However, the U.S. Government must be convinced that the proposed stay is temporary.  That is, the applicant must show that the work will end at a predictable time, and that the applicant will return to his or her country once the work is completed.


By:  William J. Kovatch, Jr.
(703) 837-8832

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