Canadian & Mexican Nationals (TN)

Created under NAFTA, this category facilitates the entry of qualified citizens from Canada and Mexico to temporarily engage in professional business activities.  Eligible employees can be admitted to the U.S. in TN status in increments of up to 3 years at a time.

They can come for the following purposes:

  • Working for a U.S. employer as a professional.
  • Working for a foreign employer (including even a non-Canadian or non-Mexican employer) to provide pre-arranged professional services to a U.S. employer.

Occupations listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 qualify for employment under NAFTA and must meet the minimum qualification for each profession, as listed.

Jump to:


  • Must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
  • Must possess the qualification and necessary license as per the designated occupation.
  • Degree must have been earned from institutions located in Canada, Mexico or the U.S.; if not, a credential evaluation must be done for equivalency.
  • Employment must be temporary and cannot be used to bring tenure-line faculty.
  • Position must be NU benefits-eligible and paid.

Steps for host departments

As part of the request to the IO, the host department will draft an offer of employment to the prospective TN employee. Once approved by IO, the TN employee will then present required documents to an immigration or consular official.

TN requests must be submitted to the IO one month prior to the begin date for Canadian citizens and two months for citizens of Mexico.

See our TN extension webpage for instructions for extending an existing TN.

1. Department collects all required documents

Required documents
  • TN Request Form
  • Biographical page of passport
  • NU appointment/position confirmation
  • Copies of diploma/transcripts demonstrating the professional level required for position
  • Updated CV
  • Credential Evaluation IF degree earned from institutions outside of US, Canada or Mexico
  • Invitation letter from the department containing the following information:
    • Evidence that the employment is listed as a designated occupation
    • Evidence of required educational qualifications and/or additional licenses or credentials
    • Description of duties
    • Reference to the temporary nature of the position
    • Dates of employment and salary
    • Sample Invitation Letter

2.  Department submits all required documents to the IO

Complete requests should be emailed as one PDF to

  • e-mail subject: "TN Request: LAST NAME, Start Date" (e.g. TN Request: WILDCAT, 04/01/2016)
  • file name: "TNReq_LAST NAME, First Name" (e.g. TNReq_WILDCAT, Willie)

3.  IO approves TN request (or requests additional information)

4.  Department mails Invitation Letter to TN employee

Steps for incoming TN employees

Incoming employees must present documents upon entering the country.

Canadian citizens

1. Present the following documents to an immigration officer:

Present these at the border if driving or to an officer at the pre-flight inspection facility located at any of the three major Canadian airports (Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto):

  • Valid Canadian passport
  • Evidence of required qualifications (diploma, license, transcripts, etc.)
  • Invitation/employment letter from NU department
  • $50 filing fee (must be in U.S. dollars)
2. The Port of Entry officer will approve or deny your TN status

If approved at the the border, you will be entered in TN status. The electronic I-94 record will note the date of entry and name of employer.

Please remember: Canadian citizens are visa exempt and need not apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate.

Mexican citizens

1. Apply for a TN visa

Present the following documents to a consular officer at a U.S. consulate in Mexico at the time of the visa application.

  • Valid Mexican passport
  • Evidence of required qualifications (diploma, license, transcripts, etc.)
  • Employment letter from hiring department
2. Receive TN visa stamp from U.S. embassy/consulate

Travel and enter the U.S. in TN status.  After you enter, your electronic I-94 record will note the date of entry and name of employer.

Visas for family/dependents of TN employees

Dependents of a TN visa-holder will be admitted in TD status. They must apply for a TD visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy nearest to their location of residence. Find resources for International spouses and families.

Activities in TD Status

  • Study: TD dependents may study full- or part-time.
  • Employment: TD dependents are not eligible for employment.