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Canadian Immigration Lawyers
Immigration Lawyers
Immigration Lawyer

TN (NAFTA) Visas

The most common type of work visa available to Canadians are TN (or TN-1) visas—which are available through the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NAFTA). These visas are restricted to specific occupational categories, for which each has very specific requirements. Categories include:

  • Engineers
  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Hotel Managers
  • Dentists
  • Lawyers
  • Pharmacists
  • Registered Nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • Geologists
  • Post-secondary Teachers / Professors

For the most part, TN visas require a bachelor’s degree and/or specific licenses or designations and there are no exceptions to these requirements in regard to these categories. There are, however, several exceptions in other categories such as the requirements for:

  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Management Consultants and
  • Scientific Technicians

Applications occurring in these categories may not necessarily require a bachelor’s degree but may accept the equivalent—either in the form of experience or a combination of experience and other post-secondary education (such as a 2- year post secondary diploma).

The application process for TN visas is at the point of entry (land) or pre-flight inspection office (airport) as as the applicant leaves for the US. The application fee for the TN visa is $50US ($54US at land crossings) and the visa is good for 1 year.

The Petitioner may also submit a TN application at the US CIS Service Center which has jurisdiction over the state in which the Petitioner is situated.

What are the advantages of the TN visa?

  1. If both the position and the applicant qualify, the application procedure is quick and relatively inexpensive.
  2. The TN visa is ideal for Canadians working on short-term contracts for different and numerous employers. There is no restriction preventing an applicant to hold more than 1 TN visa at a time, and so, for example, a management consultant may be able to obtain 2 or 3 TN visas to allow him/her to work for 2 or 3 different companies over the same period of time.

What are the disadvantages of the TN?

  1. The TN is only good for 1 year, which means if you wish to maintain your TN status, the applicant will have to either (a) get him/herself back to a Canadian border to re-apply or (b) submit the application to re-apply at one of the US CIS Service Centers before the year is up.
  2. The TN status does not allow for “dual intent” which means that the TN holder may not apply for permanent residency / immigrant status while on TN status.
  3. Technically, TN’s are renewable indefinitely. Practically, however, because the TN is supposedly for temporary employment, the US CIS may scrutinize your application more if the applicant has already re-applied for the same visa for the same position with the same employer for several years in a row.

Dependants of TN holders are eligible for TD status. This includes a spouse by marriage (common-law partners are not recognized as dependants for visa purposes) and children of the TN holder.