NAFTA Professionals (TN)
This classification is available as a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Only Canadian and Mexican citizens are eligible for TN status. The TN classification allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to be admitted to the U.S.temporarily to engage in business activities at a professional level. “Professional level” refers to those undertakings which require that the individual has a least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials in a profession set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA (see page 2). The “business activities” must be employment or other prearranged business activities in a NAFTA-eligible profession, for a United States entity. The TN status holder may not be self-employed. Temporary entry, as defined in the NAFTA, means entry without the intent to establish permanent residence. The alien must satisfy the U.S. consular officer or inspecting immigration officer that the proposed stay is temporary. A temporary period has a reasonable, finite end that does not equate to permanent residence.
Dependents of TN status holders are granted TD status. TD status holders are not allowed to accept employment or receive payment of any kind.
There are several advantages of the TN status: (1) “relative ease” of obtaining TN status when initially entering the U.S. from abroad, (2) no total maximum time limit for holding TN status (must be renewed in 1 – 3 year increments), (3) relative ease in changing to or extending TN status within the U.S