1) Eligibility requirements for TN classification
TN or “Trade NAFTA” status is available only to citizens of Canada and Mexico. TN applicants must be offered a temporary position in one of the professions listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA. The list of professions includes, among others, Engineer, Computer Systems Analyst, Accountant, and Scientific Technologist. Most of the listed TN professions require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in the specialized field, but in contrast to the H-1B category, work experience equivalent to a degree is not recognized.
2) How is a TN application processed?
The TN application process cannot begin until the offer of employment is made and accepted. Although the TN classification is available to Canadian and Mexican nationals, the application process and timing is different for each.
- Canadian applicants: Canadians can apply for admission to the United States in TN status at a U.S. border crossing post or pre-flight inspection at designated international airports. The application consists of a letter from the employer describing the duties of the offered employment and how the position qualifies as a TN profession. The applicant must also present his or her educational documents to satisfy the education requirement for that TN profession. These applications are reviewed by the USCIS officer at the port of entry or airport pre-flight inspection on the day of travel to the United States. No visa is required.
- TN petitions for Mexican nationals: The TN process for Mexican nationals starts with a petition filed by the employer with the USCIS. In addition to establishing the nature of the TN position and documenting the qualifications of the prospective employee, the employer must also satisfy the wage requirements of the Department of Labor by filing an LCA. Upon USCIS approval, the Mexican national must obtain a visa at a U.S. Consulate in Mexico.
- Change of Status: U.S. employers who wish to hire Canadian and Mexican nationals already employed in the United States in another nonimmigrant visa status (e.g. H-1B, L-1), may request a change of status to TN by filing a petition with the USCIS. The beneficiary may not commence employment until approval of the TN petition.
3) Extension of TN status
As with all work authorization status types, TN status must be renewed or extended prior to the expiration of the employee’s current TN status (evidenced by the expiration date of the I-94 card).
SUPPORT DOCUMENTATION FOR TN NONIMMIGRANT PETITION
FROM THE PETITIONING COMPANY:
- Photocopies of most recent Annual Report or Financial Statements
- Federal Tax I.D. Number (EIN)
- Name, title and address of company’s signatory for the immigration forms
- Name and address of company’s headquarters
- Year, city and state company was established
- Current number of employees
- Proposed job title for the foreign national
- Complete job description of the proposed position
- Salary offered to the foreign national
- Address of proposed work location
- Company’s minimum requirements to fill this position
- Photocopies of company’s marketing brochures, certificate and articles of incorporation, etc.
- Anticipated start date
FROM THE FOREIGN NATIONAL seeking TN status:
- Completed Immigration Questionnaire (form attached)
- Individual’s foreign address and telephone number
- Preferred place of entry/processing of TN petition, such as an airport or port-of-entry
- Evidence of individual’s Canadian citizenship, such as passport biographic page or birth certificate
- Photocopies of individual’s passport pages evidencing all prior entries into the U.S. using a U.S. visa
- If presently in the U.S., please forward copies of the front and back of the white Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record card showing most recent entry into the U.S.
- Photocopies of individual’s university or trade school diplomas and certificates, with course transcripts
- Individual’s resume, curriculum vitae, etc.
- Photocopies of the individual’s prior Form I-797 (Notice of Approval) or other immigration issued documents evidencing prior and current visa status in the United States, if applicable
- Photocopies of the individual’s last 2 pay statements with current employer
- Photocopy of most recently available governmental income tax withholding form (U.S. “W 2” Wage and Tax Withholding Statement, Canadian “T 4,” British “P60” or Australian “Group Certificate”, or similar foreign tax authority document) showing year, name of foreign employer, name of employee, salary paid, tax withheld, etc.