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TN Immigration Status

As part of the NAFTA agreement, the TN immigration status was created to allow citizens of Canada and Mexico to enter the US to engage in certain professional activities on a temporary basis. However, not all professional activities qualify one for TN status; Canadian and Mexican citizens are only eligible for TN status if they come to the US to engage in one of the professions specifically listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty and if they meet the requirements for entry into the professional occupation, generally a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific field.

There are several benefits to TN status (as compared to H-1B status):

  • There is no specific wage requirement
  • TN status can be obtained without the need to file a formal petition with USCIS. As a result, there are no filing fees and the process can be significantly faster than the H-1B process.
    • If the foreign national is in the US and requires either a change of immigration status or an extension of his or her TN-status, a petition is required.
    • Note: Mexican citizens coming to the US from abroad must first obtain a TN-visa at a US embassy or consulate.


Because a petition with USCIS is generally not required, please allow ISS 4-6 weeks to prepare the relevant paperwork.

In those cases where the foreign national is currently in the US and does not intend to travel internationally to obtain TN status, a petition with USCIS will be required. Additional time should be allowed for this.