The International Scholar Services web site has moved!
If you are not automatically redirected, please go to our new web site at http://www.pdx.edu/international-scholars.
Information for Hiring Departments and Current/Prospective TN Employees
TN (Trade-NAFTA) is a visa status available to Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis in a professional-level job under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Who is eligible for TN status?
The TN visa category requires that the applicant:
- Is a citizen of Canada or Mexico (landed immigrants or permanent residents do not qualify);
- Enters the U.S. on a temporary basis; and
- Possesses the minimum qualifications of one of the professions specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty. The Appendix also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation.
Some of the TN categories most applicable in a university setting include the following:
- College and university teachers
- Research Assistant
- Scientific Technician/Technologist
- Computer Systems Analyst (note that this category specifically does not include programmers)
- Graphic Designer
- Medical/Allied Professions
Because of the temporary nature of TN employment, TN is not an appropriate visa status for tenured or tenure-track faculty.
Although the regulations do not limit the total number of years you may remain in the U.S., TN is a temporary, non-immigrant status. You must establish to the satisfaction of USCIS that the employment opportunity is both temporary and short-term.
TN or H-1B Status: A comparison
Temporary or non-immigrant intent
TN For Canadian Citizens entering the U.S. in TN Status
Canadian citizens are exempt from the requirement to obtain a visa; instead, Canadian citizens apply directly with an immigration officer at the time s/he wishes to enter the U.S. In order to be admitted to the U.S. in TN status, a Canadian citizen entering the U.S. will need to show the following at the border:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship (Canadian passport)
- TN employer letter (obtained from your hiring department). This letter should include:
- Confirm the TN occupation in which the employee will work
- Describe the duties to be performed
- Length of stay being requested (currently the maximum is one year)
- Describe the educational credentials of the applicant in order to demonstrate eligibility
- Evidence that the job is a TN occupation (this can be a in the form of a copy of the Appendix.)
- Evidence that you have the credentials for the position. (Diploma, transcripts, licenses, etc.) Officials have the right to request to see the original or a certified copy.
- $50 application fee (in US dollars), plus $6 I-94 fee (at land crossings only)
TN for Mexican Citizens entering the U.S:
All Mexican citizens seeking to enter the U.S. in TN status first obtain a TN visa. For more information on obtaining a TN visa in Mexico, please consult the following (look for “NAFTA Visas (TN)”:
U.S. Embassy in Mexico
Information from other consulates
From the Embassy’s website:
How to apply for a visa
TN visa information
Required documentation for the visa interview (based on the Embassy’s information):
- Mexican passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the intended stay)
- DS-160 application form confirmation page
- Original bank receipt for visa application fee
- Letter from the employer to include information about the company, position, and applicant. Some consulates request specific information.
- Evidence of the credentials/qualifications for position stated in job letter, including diploma, transcripts, licenses, etc.) Officials have the right to request to see the original diploma or a certified copy. possession of theoretical knowledge as required for the specific job category
- Any other documentation (consult the U.S. Embassy in Mexico for the most complete and up-to-date information on requirements):
Changing to TN Visa Status in the U.S.
While most applicants choose to travel to the port-of-entry to obtain TN status, there is another option available. If a Canadian or Mexican applicant is present in the U.S. in another visa status and wishes to avoid travel to Canada or Mexico and re-entry, he or she may request that PSU file an application with USCIS to change the applicant’s status to TN. This process may take several months and entails a larger filing fee. To change visa status in the U.S., Canadian and Mexican citizens must provide the following documents to the International Faculty Advisor, who will file the petition:
- TN Application Packet with all documentation listed on the checklist.
- I-129 filing fee (currently $325)
- Proof of current immigration status (copies of form I-94 and other immigration documents, such as Form I-20 or Form DS-2019)
- If dependents are currently in the U.S. and will be requesting a change of status to TD (dependent) — form I-539 plus $290 filing fee, as well as proof of their current immigration status
Extension of TN status
There is no limitation on the number of years an individual may be in TN status. However, it is necessary to establish that the position is temporary.
An extension of TN status can be obtained in two ways:
- The TN employee travels to the border and is readmitted in TN status based on a new letter of employment
- The employer files an I-129 petition with USCIS before the employee’s current TN period has expired. Provided that the petition is timely filed with USCIS, the individual in TN status may continue to work for 240 days beyond his or her current expiration date.
Please see the Department of State’s information on the TN, the Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Visa