How to get a US Work Visa as a Mexican or Canadian Citizen

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Obtaining authorization to work in the United States can be a lengthy, complicated process. However, a special visa allows citizens of Mexico and Canada to work in the U.S. temporarily, and getting one is a lot quicker than most other visas. Here’s everything you need to know about the TN visa:

This article will answer the following questions about TN visas:

  1. What is a TN visa?
  2. How is a TN visa different from other types of visas?
  3. What are the requirements for a TN visa?
  4. How much does a TN visa cost?
  5. How can I apply for a TN visa?
  6. Do countries outside of Mexico and Canada qualify for this type of visa?

What is a TN visa?

A TN visa or “nonimmigrant NAFTA professional” visa is a type of visa unique to Mexico and Canada. Because the U.S., Mexico, and Canada have a special trade and economic relationship through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), citizens of either country can come to the U.S. temporarily to conduct business. This visa type allows professionals to stay in the U.S. for up to three years with the ability to extend their stays in three-year increments.

How is a TN visa different from other types of visas?

The main difference between a TN visa and others is that they can be obtained relatively quickly, especially for Canadians. In their case, they do not have to petition for a visa and can get one directly from the border upon entering the U.S. This usually means receiving approval within hours. For Mexican citizens, it can take around six months to complete an application, interview, etc. However, there is the option for premium processing (15 days) for an additional $2,500 fee.

What are the requirements for a TN visa?

Aside from being a citizen of Mexico or Canada, the TN visa requires applicants to work in certain professions ranging from accountant to dentist to social worker. HERE is a complete list (in English) of NAFTA’s approved professions, and HERE is the list in Spanish. Most of these professions require a bachelor’s degree or higher, with some exceptions.

How much does a TN visa cost?

Because Canadians can apply directly at a U.S. port of entry, their fees include $50 plus a $6 fee for an I-94 card. However, if they choose to apply by mail through the I-129 form, it will cost $460.

For those applying from Mexico, their processing will cost $160 for the DS-160 online form.

How can I apply for a TN visa?

If you are a Canadian citizen, you will need to provide the following documents upon entering the U.S.:

  • Proof of Canadian Citizenship
  • Letter from your prospective employer stating the capacity in which you will work in the U.S., the purpose of your work, length of your stay, educational qualifications; and
  • Credentials evaluation (if required)

If you are a Mexican citizen, you will need to:

  • Complete your online visa application and photo requirements
  • Schedule an interview with a U.S. embassy or consulate (generally, only if you are between the ages of 14 and 79)
  • Prepare for your interview and gather the required documents
  • Attend your interview

An in-depth breakdown of each step is available HERE.

Do countries outside of Mexico and Canada qualify for this type of visa?

As mentioned above, this specific visa only applies to Mexico and Canada through NAFTA. However, there are various visa options for those wishing to work in the U.S. temporarily. Click HERE for more information.

Thalia Carrillo is a writer based in Austin, TX. She moved from her hometown of El Paso, TX to pursue a journalism degree at The University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys covering politics and pop culture and has a passion for social justice, digital storytelling, plants, and specialty coffee!