Trade NAFTA (TN)
Professionals from Canada and Mexico
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was updated as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), provides a set list of occupations which can be performed by qualified Canadian and Mexican professionals in the United States, following approval of an application for a Trade NAFTA (TN) nonimmigrant visa classification.List of Qualifying Occupations
- General Ocupations: Accountant, Architect, Computer Systems Analyst, Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster, Economist, Engineer, Forester, Graphic Designer, Hotel Manager, Industrial Designer, Interior Designer, Land Surveyor, Landscape Architect, Lawyer, Librarian, Management Consultant, Mathematician, Statistician, Range Manager, Range Conversationalist, Post-Secondary Institutional Research Assistant, Scientific Technician, Scientific Technologist, Social Worker, Sylviculturist, Forestry Specialist, Technical Publications Writer, Urban Planner, Geographer, & Vocational Counsellor.
- Medical/Allied Professionals: Dentist, Dietitian, Medical Laboratory Technologist, Medical Technologist, Nutritionist, Occupational Therapist, Pharmacist, Teaching Physician, Research Physician, Physiotherapist, Physical Therapist, Psychologist, Recreational Therapist, Registered Nurse, Veterinarian
- Scientists: Agriculturist, Agronomist, Animal Breeder, Animal Scientist, Apiculturist, Astronomer, Biochemist, Biologist, Chemist, Dairy Scientist, Entomologist, Epidemiologist, Geneticist, Geologist, Geochemist, Geophysicist, Oceanographer, Horticulturist, Meteorologist, Pharmacologist, Physicist, Plant Breeder, Poultry Scientist, Soil Scientist, Zoologist
- Teacher: College, Seminary, University
Generally speaking, qualified professionals under the above occupations must possess at minimum a Bachelor’s degree from a U.S., Canadian, or Mexican educational institution in a relevant occupational field. A state/provincial license may be accepted as well. In certain limited cases, such as the occupations of Management Consultant and Scientific Technician/Technologist, an Associate’s degree and relevant experience may also be accepted for qualification. A Scientific Technician/Technologist must work under the direction of a degreed professional.
Although practically speaking, it is generally recommended that the applicant obtain U.S. licensure to engage in the activity, the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual explicitly makes clear that licensure is a post-entry requirement (i.e. a TN application cannot be denied solely based on lack of licensure), except for Registered Nurses.
More information about the occupation-specific requirements may be found in USMCA Chapter 16 Appendix 2 and in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual at 9 FAM 402.17.
Canadians can present TN status applications at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Pre-Flight Inspection at certain Canadian international airports as well as at the U.S. land border, which can be approved for up to three (3) years of the ability to live and work for their U.S. employer, whereas Mexicans would apply for a TN visa at a U.S. Consulate before traveling to the United States. Currently, Mexicans can apply for TN visas valid for four (4) years through payment of a visa reciprocity fee of $382. Canadians or Mexicans presently in the United States in valid status may also apply to change or extend status from within the U.S.
The above is informational and not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an experienced business immigration attorney on your specific facts and circumstances before proceeding with any U.S. immigration strategy.