Trade NAFTA (TN) visas are available only to citizens of Canada and citizens of Mexico. TN status is limited to positions listed in Appendix 1603.D.1. of NAFTA. Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement (212(e)) cannot change their nonimmigrant status from J-1 to TN while in the U.S. However, former Exchange Visitors who are subject to 212(e) are eligible to enter the U.S. under TN status.
Each temporary entry or extension of TN status is available in three-year increments with no maximum number of entries or extensions. TN physicians cannot principally practice medicine but may have patient care activities incidental to teaching and/or research. Employment of all TNs is employer and position specific.
TNs must have non-immigrant intent. TNs are liable for Federal tax withholding as nonresidents until they qualify to be taxed at a lower rate under the Substantial Presence Test. However, even as nonresidents, IRS permits TNs to claim dependents as exemptions; TNs are also subject to FICA withholding tax.
Procedures for Canadian Citizens
Employers are not required to file petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when TN classification will be determined at a Class "A" Port of Entry at the U.S./Canada border. The prospective TN must show evidence of Canadian citizenship; proof of higher education (diploma, transcripts, etc., with English translation when applicable), licenses, if required; and a Letter of Appointment/Offer, which states job title, salary, department, and brief description of work to be performed; and sufficient U.S. currency to pay the fee at the U.S./Canada border. Canadian citizens are exempt from passport and visa requirements, but the employer's name is noted by USCIS on the admission document (I-94 card).
Departments need to contact our office to ensure the appointment letter provided contains the needed details. Additionally, our office should be made aware of any potential TN applicants, when they apply at with CBP, and our office should receive a copy of the individual’s Form I-94 and visa (if any), upon entry to the United States.
Procedures for Mexican Citizens
Mexican citizens applying for TN status must first obtain a TN visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy, and then make application for entry to the United States at the U.S./Mexican border in order to be granted TN status. Please discuss any potential TN appointments with the Office of Immigration and Human Resource Services prior to extending an offer.
Departments need to contact our office to ensure the appointment letter provided contains the needed details. Additionally, our office should be made aware of any potential TN applicants, when they apply at with CBP, and we should receive a copy of the individual’s Form I-94 and visa (if any), upon entry to the United States.