NAFTA Visa


NAFTA TN business visitor for citizens of Canada and Mexico

Obtaining status as a NAFTA TN Business Visitor

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows citizens of participating countries to work temporarily in another NAFTA country. TN NAFTA visas are issued to qualifying professional workers from Canada and Mexico.

In order to qualify for a TN NAFTA visa,

  • A person must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
  • His or her profession must be on the NAFTA list.
  • He or she has the specific criteria for that profession (education, experience).
  • The job requires a person with the applicant’s specific qualifications.
  • The job is for a United States employer.
  • The process of applying for a TN NAFTA visa is different depending on the applicant’s country of origin.
Upon entering the United States, applicants from Canada must provide

  • A request for TN status.
  • A copy of a college degree and employment records that establish his or her qualifications for the position.
  • A letter from the prospective employer offering that person the job and stating the nature of the job, which must be included on the NAFTA list.
  • A fee of US $50.
Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa for temporary work in the United States. Qualifying applicants are granted TN status at their point of entry into the country.

Extensions of TN status for a Canadian citizen may be obtained in either of two ways. The worker’s employer may file for an extension at a regional BCIS office, or the worker may return to the point of entry through which he or she first entered the country and re-apply using the same documents as before.

The requirements for citizens of Mexico include the following:

  • The prospective U.S. employer must file a labor certification application.
  • The employer must file a Petition for Non-Immigrant Workers.
  • After the petition is approved, the applicant must file for a non-immigrant visa at a United States consulate in Mexico.
Extensions of TN status for a Mexican citizen may be obtained only when the employer renews the Labor Certification and files a new Petition for Non-Immigrant Workers.

Spouses of TN visa holders are granted TD visas for the duration of the worker’s stay in the United States, but they are not permitted to work. TD visas are also issued to the unmarried children of TN visa holders, so long as they are under the age of 21. Children are permitted to attend school while in the United States.

Other qualifications for NAFTA business visitors

  • The applicant must be performing work for a Canadian or Mexican employer.
  • The work must be international in scope.
  • The applicant must not intend to seek employment in the U.S. labor market.
Activities in which holders of NAFTA business visitor visas engage typically include the following:

  • Technical, scientific or statistical research.
  • Growth, manufacture and production.
  • Marketing.
  • Sales or purchasing.
  • Distribution of products.
  • After-sales service.
  • General service (covers tour bus drivers and tour company personnel, managers, public relations and advertising workers).
  • Translation or interpretation.