All You Should Know About TN Visa For NAFTA Workers - Fakaza Jobs

All You Should Know About TN Visa For NAFTA Workers

Ever heard of NAFTA? NAFTA is just an acronym for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and now that you know, what can you deduce from the name? 

Before we delve into all that, we want to believe that you are aware that a foreigner who wishes to visit the U.S has to, first of all, apply for a visa especially if the person is seeking employment in the U.S. 

That being said, at the end of this article, you should have adequate knowledge of what a TN visa is, all about NAFTA ranging from the eligibility criteria for the citizens of each of the countries involved, to how you can apply for the TN visa, the documents needed for the application, how long it takes to process the visa, the visa fees and lastly, additional tips on how to fill out the TN visa.

It is now time we get into the business of the day. The TN visa is a type of visa that permits Mexican and Canadian citizens to enter the U.S temporarily to participate in business activities at the level of a professional. 

Please note that this visa is not for permanent residents but for citizens of the countries that are under NAFTA. By the virtue of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), special economic and trade relationships were created for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

From what we have said, it is easy for you to understand why only Canadian and Mexican citizens with qualified U.S job offers are permitted to apply for a TN visa. Generally, if you fall under any of the categories listed below, you may consider yourself qualified for TN nonimmigrant status:

  • If you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • If your profession is considered qualified according to the NAFTA list;
  • If the required position is in the United States and needs a NAFTA professional;
  • If you have a full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer that was arranged beforehand. Please note that self-employment is not permitted; and
  • If you have the required certifications, qualifications, and experience for the said profession.

If you can remember, we earlier stated that eligibility criteria differ according to the citizens of the country involved, that being said, we will be stating below the eligibility criteria for both Canadian and Mexican citizens.

Before then, please note that Canadian citizens unlike  Mexican citizens are qualified for being admitted as nonimmigrants even without a visa. 

And we already know that the TN visa is a nonimmigrant visa, therefore Canadians are excluded from the visa requirement i.e applying for a TN visa at the U.S consulate. What NAFTA simply does is to determine the evidence that is needed to prove if a Canadian or Mexican citizen is a professional in a qualifying profession or not.

Eligibility Criteria For Canadian Citizens

You already know that as a Canadian citizen, you aren’t required to apply for a TN visa, however, for you to prove your eligibility, there are certain documentation that you are required to submit to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at either some CBP-selected U.S. ports of entry or at a selected pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. 

Listed below are those documents you need to present to the CBP officer:

  • A document to prove that you are a Canadian citizen;
  • Present a letter obtained from your prospective employer containing information like the reason for your employment, the duration you intend to stay in the U.S, professional capacity in which you will work in the United States, and your educational qualifications; and
  • Credentials assessment (if need be), alongside any applicable fees.

After presenting the aforementioned documents and a CBP officer finds you qualified for admission then, you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant. 

There is yet an alternative way to go about this – a prospective TN employer may decide to file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who isn’t currently in the United States by submitting a form known as Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to the USCIS.  

Once the USCIS approves Form I-129, the prospective worker can proceed to apply to CBP for admission to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. He/She is expected to provide the documentation listed below to a CBP Officer located at either a CBP-selected port of entry in the U.S. or at a selected pre-flight/pre-clearance inspection station:

  • A document that will serve as evidence that you are a Canadian citizen; and 
  • Approval Notice for Form I-129 from USCIS.

Aside from all that we have mentioned, be ready to answer questions concerning your eligibility, and the only way you can achieve this is by taking a copy of Form I-129 along with you including all supporting documentation that was submitted to USCIS. Furthermore, expect to pay any inspection fees that may be applicable at the time you seek admission.  

Eligibility Criteria For Mexican citizens

Are you a citizen of Mexico, who wants a TN visa? Then you have to apply for it at a US Embassy or Consulate in Mexico because it is a prerequisite for entering the US.

Below are the eligibility requirements you are expected to fulfill as a Mexican citizen who wants to apply for the TN Visa:

  • You have to file Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Before the form is completed, you will be required to upload a photo. Ensure that you keep the confirmation page given to you after submitting the form because you will have to take it along with you to your visa interview.
  • As long as you are between 14 and 79 years of age, you must book and attend your visa interview at a US Embassy or Consulate in Mexico. Nevertheless, we advise you to apply for your TN Visa early because waiting times for the interview vary depending on when you applied.
  • Before you go for the interview, make sure you pay the TN Visa fee of $160. 
  • While going for the interview, go with all supporting documents and we also advise you to talk to an immigration lawyer when putting them together to be sure that all the evidence that USCIS might need are included. 
  • Attend your visa interview. The goal of the interview is to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the TN Visa. If your TN Visa application needs further administrative processing, you will be informed about it during the interview.

What Are The Required Documents?

Truthfully, you don’t need to break a leg to apply for a TN visa and the needed documents aren’t complicated as well. You need the following documents to be able to apply for a TN visa:

  • A TN support letter from your employer.
  • The application fee.
  • Form I-129 must bear the signature of your employer and be submitted as well.
  • Form DS-160 (applicable to only Mexicans).

In addition to this, you need to take the following documents along with you for the interview, that is if you are a Mexican:

  • A valid passport for travel to the United States.
  • The Application fee payment receipt.
  • A professional passport-style photo.
  • A letter of employment in the United States.
  • Documentation that will serve as proof that you have met the minimum education and/or work experience requirements.

How Long Will The TN Visa Be Valid For?

This is yet another question every TN visa applicant is expected to ask. Now, you can be admitted to the US as a TN worker for an initial period of three years according to the US immigration law. 

However, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise to you if the US immigration officials choose to admit you for a shorter period of time. Yes, this is possible especially if they find out that your job in the U.S will not last for a long time. 

It is safe to say that the duration of the TN Visa depends on how long your position in the US will last and in a situation whereby your TN visa is on the verge of expiring, and you still need to stay in the US, then you have to extend it. To achieve this, please fill out the I-129 Extension Petition.

Also, you can as well choose to exit the country and apply for TN status again. This means that you have to pass through the same process that you followed when you applied the previous time. 
Well, if you are a Mexican citizen, applying again will not be the best option because the process is usually lengthy. 

Few Tips For Filling out the TN Visa

When you are processing the TN visa, you have to keep certain recommendations in mind to enable you to apply without stress. They are as follows:

  • Note that the title of the job doesn’t necessarily have to meet the NAFTA category perfectly, therefore, you don’t have to be bothered when indicating your professional category.
  • Use black ink whenever you wish to append your signature. 
  • Gather your documents on time if you have to attend an interview at the embassy.
  • Please don’t forget that this visa is only available to NAFTA workers and not any type of worker in Canada or Mexico.

As A TN Visa Holder, Can I Bring My Dependents With Me?

We have good news for you, yes you can. Once your TN Visa is successful, your dependents, your spouse, and unmarried children below the age of 21 can join you in the US. 

However, they are expected to apply for a TD Visa tailor-made for immediate relatives and if they succeed, they will be able to stay in the US as long as the TN visa holder’s status is valid. While the dependents of Mexican citizens can apply for TD-2 visas, dependents of Canadian citizens can apply for TD-1 visas, 

Another point is that applicants have to prove their relationship with the TN visa holder before they can be qualified for them and this can be achieved by submitting a marriage or birth certificate.

Finally, it’s been a long read but we do hope that it is worth every second spent. Besides, we assume that if you sincerely wish to apply for a TN visa, you are already a step away from succeeding because of the information available to you.

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