USCIS Announces New Filing Options for Canadian TN Nonimmigrants

What is a TN Visa?

NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement. It creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows 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 a NAFTA professional.

Professionals of Canada or Mexico may work in the U.S. under the following conditions:

  • Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • Profession is on the NAFTA list;
  • Position in the U.S. requires a NAFTA professional;
  • Mexican or Canadian applicant is to work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer (see documentation required). Self employment is not permitted; and
  • Professional Canadian or Mexican citizen has the qualifications of the profession.

USCIS To Now Permit I-129 Filings for First Time TN Applicants

With respect to the TN classification, USCIS currently only accepts Form I-129 in connection with a request to extend a TN nonimmigrant’s stay or to change a nonimmigrant’s status to TN.

On Oct. 1, 2012, however, USCIS will begin accepting the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of Canadian citizens who are outside the United States and seeking classification as a TN nonimmigrant.

Canadian citizens continue to have the option of applying to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for TN classification in conjunction with an application for TN admission to the United States.  Please refer to CBP’s website for additional information and requirements for applying for admission to the United States.

However, this is great news for first time TN applications who want to have a USICS TN approval in-hand before approaching the port-of-entry for admission to the US.

The following web pages provide a wealth of information on the TN Visa and filing process – Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, TN North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Professionals, and Frequently Asked Questions for TN’s.