NAFTA Visas Are for Professionals Who Meet Specific Requirements

NAFTA, North American Free Trade Act, is a trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, established a visa for workers in certain professional positions to work in the United States. This type of visa is commonly known as a TN visa and is a non-immigrant classification. NAFTA visas are available only for a group of immigrants who meet specific qualifications.

Eligibility Requirements for TN Visas

The eligibility requirements for TN visas are different for Mexican and Canadian citizens. Mexican citizens are required to apply for a TN visa through their local American embassy or consulate. If approved, you will be allowed to enter the United States through a designated port of entry or through a flight inspection station. Canadian citizens do not need to apply through an embassy. Instead, they are able to establish their TN visa at the time they enter the United States. They must provide proof of citizenship along with a letter from their employer.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Canadian citizens must establish eligibility at the border. Your prospective U.S. employer must provide a letter that includes the professional job you will be performing, the purpose of your employment, the anticipated length of your stay in the U.S. and your qualifications for the position. You may also need to provide an evaluation of your credentials. You will also be required to pay the applicable fee at the time of border crossing.  The CPB officer will admit you as a TN nonimmigrant if approved.

Professions Allowed for NAFTA Visas

Applicants for NAFTA visas must work in one of the required professions. There are a number of professions that fall into three categories including general professionals, medical professionals, and scientists. Applicants should review the current list of professions before submitting an application. A partial list of professions includes:

  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Economists
  • Engineers
  • Designers
  • Lawyers
  • College-level teachers
  • Dentists
  • Physicians
  • Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Nurses
  • Veterinarians
  • Scientists

This is only a partial list. The full list can be reviewed through the USCIS or an immigration attorney to ensure eligibility.

Applying for a TN Visa

Mexican citizens can apply for a TN visa through the U.S. consulate or embassy. You must obtain pre-approval before entering the United States. Fill out and submit Form I-129. The initial period of stay is generally up to 3 years.  Dependents and spouses of TN visa holders may also be eligible for visas. To learn more about TN visas and for guidance in obtaining a visa, call the legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Marriage and Green Cards, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.