A Comprehensive Guide to Obtaining a TN Visa: Eligibility Criteria and Process

The United States has consistently ranked at the top choice for individuals residing overseas due to its abundant opportunities for growth in fields such as education, business, and employment.

USCIS has been supportive of these aspiring, talented, and passionate individuals who seek to advance their careers in the U.S. and contribute to the American economy. Annually, they issue various types of visas to immigrants, including Green Cards, allowing them to live, work, and settle in the United States.

This blog will guide you through the process and eligibility criteria for obtaining a TN Visa, which is popular among Mexican and Canadian citizens.

What is a TN Visa?

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, was entered into by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  It allows for expedited admission of business persons from each country. Under this agreement, Mexican and Canadian citizens can seek temporary entry into the USA and engage in professional business activities.

TN Visa is valid for up to three years, allowing TN Visa holders to stay and work in the United States as long as their occupation falls under the list of NAFTA professions. TN Visa can be renewed for indefinite times. TN Visa Extensions can also be granted for dependents.

At Salinas Law Firm, we provide complete assistance with TN visa extension and renewal. We will also help determine whether your occupation falls under the NAFTA professions classification list.

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Eligibility Criteria for a TN Visa

Let us first walk you through the eligibility criteria for obtaining a TN Visa.


You must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen.

Qualifying Profession

The TN visa is available for individuals working in certain professions. These professions include qualifiers but are not just limited to them. The following occupations can apply for a TN Visa:

  • Accountants
  • Engineers
  • Scientists
  • Pharmacists
  • Nurses
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Graphic Designers
  • Management Consultants

Each profession has specific requirements, so it's essential to ensure your job offer matches one of the eligible NAFTA professions.

Job Offer

You must have a legitimate job offer from a U.S. employer for a position falling under one of the eligible TN professions. The employer should also be willing to sponsor your TN visa application.

Educational Qualifications

Most TN professions require at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent. You must possess the necessary educational qualifications and any required licenses or certifications for your profession.

Proof of Intent to Return

Your intent must be clear to return to your home country (Canada or Mexico) once your TN visa status expires. You can provide evidence of ties to your home country, such as property ownership, family relationships, or future job prospects.

Visa Application

Step 1: Job Offer

Secure a job offer from a U.S. employer. Ensure that the position and your qualifications align with the eligible TN professions.

Step 2: Employer's Support

Your U.S. employer plays a crucial role in the TN visa application process. They must provide you with a job offer letter and complete the necessary paperwork, including Form I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Workers if applicable.

Step 3: Required Documentation

Gather the necessary documentation, including your passport, job offer letter, educational transcripts and certificates, and relevant licenses or certifications.

Step 4: Visa Application

Complete the DS-160 online application form and pay its fee online. After that, schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. Consulate or the Embassy for a visa interview if you are a Mexican national or at a port of entry if you are a Canadian national.

Step 5: Visa Interview

Attend the visa interview at the Local U.S. Embassy/Consulate Office or port of entry. The consular officer will review your application and ask you relevant questions about the purpose of your stay in the USA, qualifications, intent to return, and other information to ascertain visa application genuineness. You might be asked to provide additional documents or proof of evidence if the consular/embassy officer finds insufficient evidence.

Step 6: Visa Approval

Once your TN visa application is approved, you will receive a TN Visa stamp in your passport, enabling you to enter the U.S. and work for your sponsoring employer.

Documents Required for TN Visa

  • A Valid Passport or Birth Certificate to prove that you are a citizen of Mexico or Canada
  • A Copy of Graduation Certificate, Transcripts, or Diploma to prove that you have at least a bachelor's or master's degree
  • A Copy of the Employment Letter confirming your job and specifying the length of stay
  • Form I-129 by your Employer, if applicable
  • A Copy of Form DS-160, if applicable
  • Proof of required fees paid

Note: You might be requested to submit additional documents apart from the above. We recommend contacting our TN Visa Attorney for guidance on the required documentation.


After reading the blog, you will have a better understanding of what a TN Visa is, to which countries citizens it is issued, its eligibility criteria, the process for applying, and the required documentation.

Following the procedure mentioned in the blog and gathering the needed documents will streamline your TN Visa process. The average processing time for a TN Visa is around three to six months if filing form I-129. However, the optional premium processing duration is approximately 15 calendar days.

However, if you have any questions about the TN Visa process or its eligible professions, feel free to contact us. You can also refer to the NAFTA TN Professionals' page for in-depth information by clicking here.

In pursuing a TN visa or any other immigration-related matter, it is crucial to have the correct legal support by your side. At Salinas Law Firm, we have assisted countless of individuals in acquiring a TN Visa. Our TN Visa Lawyers have extensive experience and are proficient in the visa application procedure.

They will stay connected with you throughout the process, from ensuring that you meet the eligibility criteria to assisting with the collection of necessary documents, form completion, paperwork submission, guidance during the interview process, and any potential TN visa renewal or extension in the future.  Improve your chances of getting a TN Visa by booking a consultation with our Houston TN Visa Attorney at 713.518.1711