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Temporary Employment: TN Visa Classification

Presented to The CBA National Immigration Legal Conference

The TN-1 (TN) nonimmigrant classification was created by the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), and applies exclusively to Canadian citizens temporarily entering the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

The TN category is available only to Canadian citizens who seek employment in the U.S. under certain pre-designated professions. A list of commonly used TN visa categories can be viewed by clicking here:

List of TN Qualified Professions

The beneficiary can apply either  upon departure from Canada at any Class A Port of Entry or by first filing a nonimmigrant petition with the appropriate USCIS Service Center.

The TN can be issued for up to 3 years at a time and renewed indefinitely subject to the beneficiary continuing to maintain nonimmigrant intent and also meeting the specific requirements of her TN status.  Unlike the H-1B category, there are no yearly caps.

There are important considerations to be aware of when obtaining a TN status:

Spouses are issued TD status but do not have the legal right to obtain work authorization unless they can independently qualify under the TN or other category.

Most (though by no means all) TN-1 categories require a baccalaureate degree as the qualifying academic credential. A few categories require an advanced degree (e.g., Librarian).