General Information

The TN visa program is the immigration component of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to be admitted to the United States to engage in "business activities at a professional level" in certain occupations, for one or more specific employers (provided that each employer applies for a separate TN visa). Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not eligible for the TN visa.

To be eligible for a TN, the non-immigrant must be engaged in one of the designated professions listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty.  The position must require at least a bachelor’s degree and the non-immigrant must meet the minimum qualifications required by the position.

NOTE:  If a Canadian or Mexican citizen obtained his or her credentials in a country other than Canada, Mexico, or the U.S., the applicant must obtain an equivalency evaluation from a reliable credential evaluation service.  See listing of professional education credential evaluators.

TN status is usually granted for 3-year increments.  There is no cumulative total limit on the time a Canadian or Mexican citizen can be in TN status. Status can be renewed each year indefinitely, provided that the stay remains temporary in nature.  Temporary entry means that the individual is not seeking to remain permanently in the U.S. Although TN status can be renewed indefinitely in increments of up to three years at a time, the individual must be able to show that each TN entry or extension of stay will be temporary at the time of each reapplication, if requested by DHS. Therefore, tenure-track positions will not qualify for TN status. 


Procedures for Admission of Canadian Citizens

Step 1:  The hiring Department provides a support letter which lists the salary, complete description of job duties, length of stay and requirements for degree or licenses.  Click here for example support letter.  It is essential that the position be listed in the Appendix 1603.D.1 and the Appendix should be attached to the letter.

Step 2:  To enter the U.S. in TN status, the Canadian citizen applies for admission in TN status at the port of entry or pre-flight inspection facility.  He or she must present the following:

  • Passport
  • Documentation of professional qualifications.  This includes diplomas and transcripts as well as the Curriculum Vitae or resume.
  • Letter from hiring department with Appendix 1603.S.1 attached. 
  • US $50.00 fee

Step 3:  The non-immigrant enters the U.S. and reports to International Student and Scholar Services.  The TN must bring his or her passport and I-94. The I-94 is your arrival record.  You can retrieve your I-94 at after you enter the U.S


Procedures for Admission of Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate.  The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you will apply. 

The documentation needed includes:

  • Passport
  • Documentation of professional qualifications.  This includes diplomas and transcripts as well as the Curriculum Vitae or resume.
  • Letter from hiring department Appendix 1603.S.1 attached.

After arriving in the U.S. and the TN must report to International Student and Scholar Services and bring his or her passport and I-94.  The I-94 is your arrival record.  You can retrieve your I-94 at after you enter the U.S


Change of Status to TN (if in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status)

 If the employee or prospective employee is in the U.S. in another visa status the employee can acquire TN status by traveling to Mexico or Canada (see above) or by applying for a change of status by mail. 

To apply by mail, the hiring department must submit the following to ISSS:

  1. Support letter 
  2. Check for $325 payable to the Department of Homeland Security

The employee must submit the following to ISSS:

  1. Employee Information Sheet along with the supporting documentation listed at the end of the form.


Extension of Status

Canadian or Mexican citizens admitted as a TN may seek an extension of stay, which may be granted for up to three years by:

  1. Applying by mail while present in the U.S., which requires the same documents as applying for the change of status (see above) from both the department and employee.  The application for the extension must be on file with USCIS prior to the last date the employee is in authorized TN status; or
  2. Applying at a port of entry or pre-flight inspection facility using the same application and documentation procedures as required for the initial entry (see above). 


Dependents of the TN

Spouses and children (unmarried children under the age of 21) who are accompanying or following to join the TN may receive a derivative TD visa status.  Canadian citizen spouses and children do not need visas. If the spouse and children are not Canadian citizens, they must get a TD non-immigrant visa. Mexican citizen spouses and children must apply for the TD non-immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.  

Those in TD status are not authorized to work in the U.S., but they may attend academic institutions either part or full-time.


Change of Employer

TN status is employer-specific, so any change in employer will affect the TN professional’s immigration status.  A change of employer for a TN necessitates reapplication for TN status. 

TN status holders may have more than one job, but USCIS must approve all employment prior to its commencement.


Travel Outside the U.S. and Reentry

TN status holders may depart and reenter the U.S. any time during their TN stay.  If reentry to the U.S. is within the validity period of the TN, then the only documentation needed is a letter from the department that indicates you are still employed at K-State and are returning to continue your employment as well as a valid passport.  If you received TN status through an application to USCIS, then you must carry your I-797 Approval Notice. 

Travel outside the U.S. while a change of status to TN is pending is considered abandonment of the application.  

Quick links to forms found on this page.

Appendix 1603.D.1
Education Credentials Evaluators
Sample Support Letter
Information Sheet for Employees

Maria Beebe, Associate Director