TN Status (NAFTA)
This type of employment authorization is a temporary employment for citizens of Canada and Mexico as NAFTA professionals to work in the United States. Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as NAFTA professionals. This category is regulated by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).
The following are required for entry into the United States in TN status:
Proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship, (Canadian Landed Immigrants are not eligible for TN status);
A letter from the employer providing details as to the specific duties to be performed in the United States showing that the person’s activities will be within one of the listed fields for TN status. College teachers having at least a baccalaureate degree are one of the listed groups (if the position carries a minimum degree requirement, it should be stated in the letter, e.g., “this position requires a Ph.D. degree in Music Performance”);
Evidence of the professional credential (the original diploma or a certified copy);
Documentation (an employer letter) of the employment agreement offering the position for a three-year period and providing terms of compensation;
A statement in the employer’s letter that the purpose of the entry to the United States is temporary (this is “temporary” in the immigration sense that the TN status is a nonimmigrant, not a permanent status, and therefore, that the employment is for a period of time consistent with the individual’s immigration status; if the position is a teaching position which normally extends to a specific date with the possibility of extension, it should be stated as such. For example, “the position of Assistant Professor is offered for the period September 1, 1999 to August 31, 2000. The period may be extended by mutual agreement.”
A filing fee of U.S. $50
Canadian Entry Requirements:
The documentation is presented to a U.S.-Canadian preflight inspection facility or a U.S.-Canadian port-of-entry inspection facility. No TN visa (stamp) required.
Mexican Entry Requirements:
The documentation including a submitted Nonimmigrant Visa Application is presented to a U.S. consulate to apply for the required TN visa.
Upon Entry into the US:
U.S. immigration will issue a form I-94 marked for “TN” status and multiple re-entries with an end-date for status in conformity with the end-date of employment as provided by the employer. TN’s are eligible to extend TN status on a yearly basis an unlimited number of times; however, the intent of a TN under immigration law must continue to be to stay in the U.S. for a temporary period of time, and then to leave the U.S. Only non-immigrants in the H-1B status are currently allowed by law to have dual intent: permanent intent as well as temporary intent. Additional information is available at http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html
TN status is being granted for a period of 3 year and there is no limit on how long an individual can extend their stay in TN status. It is important to remember though that the TN is not for permanent residency.