Canadian and Mexican National (TN) FAQ

1. What is a Trade National (TN) visa?

Trade National (TN) is a nonimmigrant visa available to nationals from Canada and Mexico and is based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA agreement exists among Canada, the United States and Mexico. A TN visa facilitates the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens to the United States to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis. The TN category allows for admission of individuals for the purposes of:

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

Click here to read more about TN status.

2. What occupations are eligible for TN employment?

Occupations specified in NAFTA Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 treaty can serve as the basis for TN employment. Appendix 1603.D.1 also stipulates the minimum qualifications for the entry into the U.S. in each occupation.

3. Who is eligible for TN status?

  • Must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • Must prove that the entry is temporary

4. Is a visa needed to enter the United States as a TN professional?

Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S. in TN status. Mexican citizens will need a visa to enter the U.S. Mexican citizens will have to apply at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in Mexico. To apply for a visa, applicant have to fill out the DS-160 Form.

5. What positions are eligible for TN status?

  • Employment must be temporary and cannot be used to bring tenure track faculty
  • Employment must be paid and benefits eligible

6. What are the documents Canadian citizens need to show at the boarder?

  • Valid Canadian Passport
  • Evidence of required qualifications (diploma, license, transcripts, etc)
  • Employment offer letter from George Mason University
  • $50 filing fee (must be in U.S. dollars)

7. What are the documents Mexican citizens need to take to the U.S. embassy/Consulate?

  • Valid Mexican passport
  • Evidence of required qualifications (diploma, license, transcripts, etc)
  • Employment letter from hiring department

8. How soon can an employee enter the U.S. in TN status?

It is advised not to enter the U.S. more than 10 days before, if professing at the border.

9. How long can an employee be in TN status?

There is no total time limit on how long a person can remain in TN status. TN can be granted for three years at a time.

10. Is there a numerical limit on TN status?

There is no numerical limit on the issuance of TN status.

11. Can TN employee study while in the U.S.?

Regulations do not discuss whether TN professionals are allowed to study full-or part-time in TN status. However, it is generally accepted that TNs can study as long as the study is incidental to their TN employment.

12. Can a person who was in H1B or L1 status qualify for TN?

Yes, Canadians and Mexicans professionals who have already used up the maximum stay in H1B or L nonimmigrant categories can still qualify for the TN category. However, the applicant should be able to prove nonimmigrant intent in the U.S.

13. Can a prior J1 classification eligible for TN?

Canadians and Mexicans in J status who are subject to the 212(e) two-year foreign residency requirement are prohibited from changing status to TN. However, they are not disqualified from departing the U.S. and applying for admission in TN status.

14. Can a TN employee bring immediate family members?

Yes, Dependents of a TN visa-holder are admitted in TD status.

15. Can TD dependents study full or part time in the U.S.?

Yes, TD dependents may study full-or part-time in the U.S.

16. Are TD dependents eligible to work in the U.S.?

No, TD dependents are not eligible to work in the U.S.