What are TN visas?

TN visas allow nonimmigrant Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in professional business activities. There are two types of TN visa. The TN-1 visa is available to citizens of Canada who seek to work in the United States. The TN-2 visa is available to citizens of Mexico who seek to work in the United States. Additionally, the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a TN visa holder may accompany the TN visa holder to the United States under the TD visa.

What are the different types of TN visas and what makes each unique?

  • TN-1 visa

The TN-1 visa is available for Canadian citizens who work in certain professions to be admitted to the United States for employment and business activities with a U.S. or foreign employer. Canadian citizens who work in a qualified profession may seek admission with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at certain CBP-designated ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. Thus, approval for a TN-1 visa is not generally required for Canadian citizens prior to entry for qualified professionals.

  • TN-2 visa

The TN-2 visa is available for Mexican citizens who work in certain professions to be admitted to the United States for employment and business activities with a U.S. or foreign employer. Mexican citizens must apply for a TN-2 visa at a United States embassy or consulate prior to entry to the United States.

  • TD visa

The TD visa is available for the spouse or unmarried children under age 21 of the TN visa holder. TD visa holders may live in the United States with the TN visa holder, but may not work in the United States. If a Canadian citizen resides in a third country with a non-Canadian spouse and/or children must receive a TN visa in order for the family members to be eligible to apply for the TD nonimmigrant visa.

Who qualifies for each type of TN visa?

Both TN-1 and TN-2 visa holders must meet the same general requirements to qualify for a TN visa:

  • TN-1 visa applicants must be a citizen of Canada and TN-2 visa applicants must be a citizen of Mexico.
  • TN visa applicants must work in a qualified profession on the NAFTA list.
  • TN visa applicants must have prearranged full-time or part-time employment, and will not be self-employed.
  • TN visa applicants must have the requisite qualifications, specific requirements, education, and/or experience to work in the qualified profession.
  • TN visa applicants generally must have a baccalaureate degree, though some professions allow qualified experience to be substituted for the baccalaureate degree.

What is the process for obtaining a TN visa?

  • TN-1 visa

Canadian citizens who work in a qualified profession may seek entry into the United States without first obtaining a TN visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Instead, qualified Canadian professionals can apply for TN nonimmigrant status at a United States CBP port of entry.

The employer of a prospective Canadian citizen may alternatively file form I-129 to United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the form I-129 is approved by the USCIS, the prospective worker may then apply to CBP for admission to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant by showing certain documentation at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection stations.

At the CBP port of entry or pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station, the prospective worker may be asked questions about his or her eligibility. The prospective worker also must provide:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship;
  • Approval notice from USCIS for form I-129;
  • A copy of form I-129; and
  • All supporting documentation submitted to USCIS.
  • TN-2 visa

Mexican citizens who work in a qualified profession must apply for the TN-2 visa with a United States Embassy or Consulate prior to entering the United States to work.

TN-2 visa applicants must:

  • Fill out form DS-160 online and print the confirmation page to bring to the interview
  • Upload a photograph that meets photo requirements while completing the online form DS-160.
  • Schedule and attend interview at a United States Embassy or Consulate. Interviews are generally not required for individuals younger than 13 years of age or older than 79. Visa renewal applicants may not be required to interview as well.
  • Pay applicable fees.
  • Bring required documentation to the interview.

What documentation is required for the interview?

    • A passport valid for at least six month beyond the applicant’s period of stay in the United States.
    • The form DS-160 confirmation page.
    • Application fee payment receipt.
    • A physical photo conforming to photo requirements if the photo upload with the DS-160 failed.
    • Documentation proving that the applicant meets the minimum education and/or work experience requirements, including degrees, diplomas, certificates, and professional licenses.
    • A contract or letter of employment with an employer in the United States to show that the applicant has a job offer. The letter should include:
      • The applicant’s purpose of entry;
      • A detailed description of the applicant’s business activities or job responsibilities;
      • The applicant’s anticipated length of stay in the United States;
      • The applicant’s educational qualifications or appropriate credentials demonstrating professional status;
      • Evidence of the applicant’s compliance with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations and/or state laws;
      • Arrangement for the applicant’s pay;
      • Additional documentation to prove the applicant’s intent to return to Mexico
  • TD visa

TD visa applicants can seek entry to the United States with his or her spouse or parent, whichever is applicable, at a CBP port of entry. The spouse or unmarried children under age 21 of a TN visa holder must provide proof of his or her spousal or parent-child relationship with the TN visa holder and proof that the TN visa holder intends to maintain his or her status.

To prove the TD visa applicant’s relationship with the TN visa holder, and the TN visa holder’s qualifications, an applicant must provide:

  • Proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship;
  • A valid marriage certificate or birth certificate indicating the relationship with the TN visa holder;
  • Photocopies of the TN visa holders admission documents;
  • Proof the TN applicant is maintaining his or her TN nonimmigrant status.

How much does it cost to get a TN visa?

The application fee for the TN visa is $160. There is no issuance fee applicable to Canadian or Mexican citizens following the approval of the visa. Canadian citizens who achieve visa status at a CBP port of entry must pay an additional fee of $6 for their I-94 arrival/departure card.

How long are TN visas valid?

Both TN-1 and TN-2 visa holders may stay in the United States for up to three years. If a TN visa holder wishes to remain in the United States beyond three years without first departing the United States, the visa holder must seek an extension of his or her stay by having his or her employer file form I-129 on the visa holder’s behalf.

Alternatively, TN visa holders may depart the United States before the date their visa expires and apply at a CBP-designated U.S. port of entry or pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station using the same application and documentation provided at the initial application for admission as a TN nonimmigrant.

TD visa holders are eligible to stay in the United States as long as the primary TN visa holder remains in the United States, and can be granted extensions that match the primary TN visa holder.