TN Visa Summary - US Work Visa for Canadian and Mexican Nationals.
Canadians & Mexicans looking for short term work permits should consider the NAFTA "TN" (treaty national) visa. The visa includes most professional designations. The TN visa is not designed for self employment. The visa is designed to accommodate short term employment in a professional capacity. Consultants must demonstrate that they are coming to the US to service a client, not to set up their own US business.
Applicants may apply at border posts. Show your professional credentials, proof of university education and a cover letter from the employer describing your job duties. The INS border inspector should process your application within a few hours.
If you are already in the US you can apply for TN status by mail through an INS regional processing center.
The Visa lasts one year but is renewable indefinitely. Common sense dictates that the longer you have the TN visa the more scrutiny you face at the border.
The TN visa automatically expires upon application for permanent residence. If you have a TN and want a green card, change status to H1B or E treaty status before applying for the green card. The H1B lasts for up to six years, which is generally more than enough time to process the green card.
The TN visa is only available to Canadian citizens, not landed immigrants.
The TN category offers Canadian professionals a fast track into the US. Once in the US one may consider other options for a longer term stay.
NOTE. Mexican Citizens must apply through the INS Service Centers inside the United States, and are subject to longer processing times.
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