An Inside Look into The TN Visa Application Process

The TN visa, established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is a pathway for Canadian and Mexican professionals to contribute their expertise in the United States. However, the journey from a job offer to working legally in the U.S. involves a complex process.

Let’s explore every aspect of the TN visa application, offering insights into eligibility, key differences between TN-1 and TN-2 visas, eligible professions, common pitfalls, application costs, and the importance of seeking professional assistance.

Who Can Apply for a TN Visa?

The eligibility criteria include the profession on the NAFTA list, possessing specific professional credentials, employment with a U.S. employer, and securing a prearranged full-time or part-time job offer. It’s crucial to note that self-employment is not permitted under the TN visa.

Differences Between TN-1 and TN-2 Visas

TN-1 visas cater to Canadian citizens, allowing them to apply directly at U.S. ports of entry. In contrast, TN-2 visas are designated for Mexican citizens, requiring prior approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and subsequent application at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. The distinctions in application processes and timelines are significant, making it essential for applicants to plan accordingly.

Examples of Professions Eligible for TN Visas

A broad spectrum of professions qualifies for TN visas. These include accountants, architects, computer systems analysts, engineers, graphic designers, and lawyers, each with specific educational and work experience prerequisites. Meeting these criteria is fundamental for a successful application.

Common Mistakes Applicants Should Avoid

The TN visa application process demands precision. One common error is inadequately detailed job offer letters, needing more specifics about job duties, purpose of employment, duration, and educational qualifications.

Another pitfall is insufficient supporting documentation, such as evidence of education and work experience, potentially leading to application denial. Additionally, failure to demonstrate the temporary nature of employment can raise questions. It is essential to provide robust evidence that the applicant intends to return to their home country after the U.S. assignment concludes.

Cost of Acquiring a TN Visa

The financial aspects of TN visa applications vary based on nationality. Canadian citizens incur around $50 as a Form I-94 fee during border application. For Mexican citizens, the process costs around $160 visa application fee and expenses related to the USCIS petition. Potential applicants must budget for these costs and be aware of additional fees related to legal assistance and document procurement.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Assistance

Given the complexity of the TN visa application process, seeking professional guidance is invaluable. Experienced immigration attorneys can streamline the process by handling document preparation, filing, and case management. By entrusting experts with your case, you can focus on your professional commitments, confident that their immigration needs are in capable hands.


The TN visa application process demands meticulous planning, attention to detail, and expert guidance. Understanding the intricacies of eligibility, profession-specific requirements, avoiding common mistakes, and embracing the support of professionals are crucial steps for aspiring Canadian and Mexican professionals aiming to contribute their expertise in the United States. By following these guidelines and seeking expert assistance, you can confidently start preparing for your career in the United States.