The TN visa enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to be admitted to the United States to engage in “business activities at a professional level” in certain occupations.


The TN visa program is the immigration component of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to be admitted to the United States to engage in “business activities at a professional level” in certain occupations, for one or more specific employers (provided that each employer applies for a separate TN visa). Legal permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not eligible for the TN visa.

TN status may be granted for an initial period of up to three years, and this status may be extended indefinitely in three-year increments.

  1. The profession must be on the list of qualifying positions.
  2. The individual must have at least a bachelor’s degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional.
  3. The individual possesses the requisite educational background and experience for that position.
  4. The individual must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
  5. The individual must have a prearranged job that is not self-employment.
  6. Canadian citizens apply for TN visas at the U.S. port of entry.
  7. Mexican citizens must apply for TN visas in a U.S. embassy or consulate in advance.

The ISSS staff can assist the Middlebury/MIIS community in making the determination whether the TN visa is appropriate for an employee. The TN visa is a temporary visa category and is not appropriate for permanent positions such as tenure-track positions.

For the additional information regarding TN status, please contact ISSS and review the U.S. Department of State’s visa page on TN for Canadians and Mexicans and the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) website for TN NAFTA Professionals.

Application for TN Status

ISSS is notified of the hire and given a copy of the contract/offer letter.  Then ISSS will contact the prospective employee to obtain the necessary information and documentation.  ISSS will prepare the necessary support letters and other documentation and send it to the prospective TN employee.  ISSS requires at least 4 to 6 weeks to prepare this paperwork.

It is always best to obtain TN status via travel – leaving the U.S. and obtaining TN status upon re-entry to the U.S.  In rare circumstances, it may be possible to file a TN petition with USCIS but it can take several months to get approval therefore travel is usually always much quicker and a break in employment would be less likely when obtaining TN status via travel.

Last updated 1/13/2022

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