TN Visa for Canadian and Mexican Professionals under NAFTA

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), citizens of Mexico and Canada have an additional immigration option available to them that is easier and faster to obtain that many other work visas. Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a non-immigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Since 1994, NAFTA has created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The non-immigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers. However, Permanent Residents of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for TN visas to work as NAFTA professionals.


Canadian and Mexican citizens may be eligible to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals under the following conditions:

  1. The Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;

  2. The Applicant’s job is in an eligible profession on the NAFTA list;

  3. The United States job requires a NAFTA professional;

  4. The Applicant will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for a US (self employment is not permitted); and

  5. The Applicant has the qualifications; and meets the specific requirements, education, and/or experience, of the profession.

With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree as an entry-level requirement. If a baccalaureate degree is required, experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative to a bachelor’s degree is listed.

For some professions, experience is required in addition to the degree.


Canadian citizens usually do not need a visa as a NAFTA Professional, although a visa can be issued to qualified Canadian TN visa applicants upon request.  A Canadian citizen without a TN visa can apply for TN non-immigrant status at a U.S. port-of-entry.

Mexican citizens require TN visas to request admission to the United States in this status.


As the the United States’ two largest export markets, Canada and Mexico buy more Made-in-America goods and services than any other countries in the world.  Since its entry into force, U.S. manufacturing exports to NAFTA have increased 258% and the United States maintains a growing manufacturing trade surplus with Canada and Mexico. American exports of computer and electronic products, furniture, paper, and fabricated metals have all more than tripled since NAFTA implementation.


To find out if you qualify for the TN visa, and how to complete an application, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (323) 450-9010; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular case, as each case has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by and attorney and USCIS.

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