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TN STATUS

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) established a nonimmigrant visa classification for Canadian and Mexicans professionals who wish to work in the United States. This nonimmigrant status is available only to qualified members of certain pre-determined occupations and allows for the expedited admission of these professionals. Individuals in the covered professions are eligible to enter the US in TN status. Mexican citizens are eligible for TN status, but the process is different. For Mexican citizens, OISS would recommend the H-1B.

TN Processing and Admission Procedure
Canadians may apply for TN-1 classification directly at Class A ports of entry to the US or at pre-flight stations in Canada. A citizen of Canada may be admitted to the US in the “TN” category under NAFTA provided that they meet the following requirements:

  1. The applicant is a citizen of Canada. Documentation must include proof of Canadian citizenship.
  2. The applicant is not inadmissible to the US under any of the existing exclusionary grounds.
  3. The applicant must be coming to the US for the purpose of employment in one of the professions listed in Schedule 2. For the NAFTA Job Professional List please visit the website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html.
  4. The applicant must be making an official entry into the US.
  5. The applicant must pay the required $50 filling fee and the $6 fee for each I-94 card issued (one will be issued to each family member when applicable) in US funds, either cash or a check drawn on a US bank. Note: processed rule to increase I-94 fee to $7
  6. The applicant must provide evidence of degree and years of experience (where required). If the degree was received outside of Canada or the US, a credential evaluation is needed. It is recommended to bring original degree and copies for submission.
  7. The applicant must present a letter from US employer (see sample letter below).
  8. The applicant must provide evidence of compliance with all applicable state laws and/or licensing requirements for the occupation; if applicable.
  9. The applicant should bring a copy of their resume or cv.
  10. If dependents will be joining the applicant they will be issued TD visa status. Proof of marriage or birth should be taken to the port of entry. TD dependents include spouse and minor children and are not eligible for employment authorization.


Advantages and Disadvantages of TN compared to H-1B status
Advantages

  • It covers a broad range of occupations
  • It is quick to obtain and less paperwork.
  • There is no limit on the length of time an individual can hold TN status.
  • If the individual is subject to 212(e), two year home country residency requirement stemming from J-1 status, may be able to get TN status when H is not available.

Disadvantages

  • It only covers the occupations listed in the free trade agreement.
  • There is no recognition of dual intent since TN's are deemed to be temporary entries.
  • Tenure track professors are not advised to hold TN status and may encounter difficulties in entering the US in TN status.


SAMPLE LETTER

Date

Department of Homeland Security
Immigration Officer
Port of Entry
Port Huron, Michigan or Detroit Tunnel/Bridge, Michigan

Dear Officer:

This letter is being submitted in support of the TN application filed on behalf of NAME, a Canadian national. At this time, the University wishes to temporarily employ NAME in TN status as a/an POSITION TITLE for the time period beginning DATE to DATE. THREE YEARS MAXIMUM TIME PERIOD.

Institution background and job requirement
Established in 1855, Michigan State University is a nonprofit academic and research institution and is recognized as one of the foremost academic institutions in the world. In order to maintain this level of excellence, it is essential that our staff members be of the highest merit and ability. The DEPARTMENT NAME has been recognized as/ visibility on the national and international scale has increased/ up-and-coming programs in the country... a sentence or two about the department. The Department has an opening for a/an POSITION TITLE. The minimum requirements for this professional position is a Bachelor, Masters, PhD in field(s). As a POSITION TITLE, she/he will be responsible for list duties/research objectives...

Individual's background
NAME received her/his DEGREE in FIELD from the INSTITUTION NAME. She/he has experience as a graduate student/researcher/teacher/ involved in this type of research. Connect individuals experience with job requirements for the position.

Individual qualifies as TN professional under NAFTA
Based on Dr./Mrs./Mr. LAST NAME=s outstanding background and experience, we wish to employ her/him for a temporary period of one year as a POSITION TITLE. DR./MR./MRS. LAST NAME will earn $AMOUNT per year in this position and will receive fringe benefits such as vacation days, health insurance, and sick time. It is our understanding that NAME qualifies to come to the US for the purpose of employment under the TN qualifying profession of (eg.Librarian, Research Assistant, college teacher, etc…)

We understand the temporary nature of the TN status we seek for Dr./Mrs./Mr. LAST NAME and assuming our TN application is approved, we fully intend to comply with all the regulations. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

Name
Department Chair