A product of the NAFTA accords, the TN Visa is available only to those applicants who are citizens of either Canada or Mexico and engaged in certain occupations, including scientists, engineers, pharmacists, lawyers, teachers, and accountants. Naturally, this necessitates that the applicants meet the necessary qualifications for their position, such as a license or certification, which in fact requires a NAFTA Professional; applicants must also prove that they are scheduled to work full-time in a capacity for a U.S. company. TN visa holders are not authorized to be self-employed. TN Visas are issued for a maximum of 2 years, and can be extended indefinitely. The TN visa allows those approved to bring their accompanying spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 on TD Visas, though they cannot work and may only stay as long as the TN Visa holder. There are, however, different requirements depending on applicant’s nationality, as described below:
Canadian citizens seeking TN Visa status need not apply at a U.S. consulate or embassy, and can instead submit proof of their citizenship, credentials, and confirmation from their employer - with details such as the nature of their work and duration of stay – to a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) official, who will assess eligibility. Alternately, a Canadian TN Visa applicant may have their petition filed on their behalf by their scheduled employer, who submits Form I-129 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS); if approved, a Canadian citizen need only show proof of citizenship and the approved Form to a CBP official.
Mexican citizens, on the other hand, must apply for TN Visa status at a U.S. consulate or embassy in Mexico. Upon approval, they follow the same steps as Canadians, i.e. submitting the necessary evidence to a CBP official at certain ports of entry.
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