Procedure for Obtaining TN Status

The procedure for initially obtaining TN status differs for Mexican and Canadian nationals. The following describes the procedures for both.

A. TN-1: Canadian Professionals

As nationals of Canada, aliens who qualify for TN-1 status are not required to obtain a visa before entering the United States. Therefore, they do not have to file an I-129 with the USCIS or apply for a TN visa from a US consular office abroad prior to entering the US and may instead apply directly for TN-1 status at the border. The applicant simply must present the job offer letter from a US employer at the border and the interviewing officerwill review theirapplication on the spot. The border officer will make a decision regarding the applicant's qualifications for TN-1 status based on his review of the submitted material. If approved, the applicant is given an I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Record) detailing their legal period of stay in the U.S. and may enter the country.

TN-1 applicants may apply for a TN visa stamp through consular processing on their passport if they wish. A Canadian national residing in another country with a non-Canadian spouse and/or child would need a visa to enable the spouse and/or child to be able to apply for a visa to accompany or join them as a TD visa holder. Canadians applying for a visa will follow the same documentation requirements and procedures as Mexican citizens applying for a TN-2 visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. However, Canadians need to get approval from a border officer when applying for TN status upon entry.

Canadian professionals applying for TN status may do so at any U.S. Class A Port of Entry. 

B. TN-2: Mexican Professionals

Mexican nationals who are seeking TN status are required to obtain a TN-2 visa stamp before they may enter the United States. TN-2 visa holders used to be required to file an I-129 petition with USCIS, similar to someone seeking H-1B status, and take their approval notice to the U.S. consulate in Mexico where they may have applied for a TN-2 visa. Mexican professionals also used to be required to obtain a Labor Certification (LCA). Now, however, to obtain a TN-2 visa Mexican nationals simply must take their necessary evidence and documentation to the U.S. Consulate to obtain their TN-2 visa stamp. If a TN-2 visa is issued, then the applicant proceeds to the border and applies for entry into the U.S, as would any other visa holder. Please see the article below titled “Change of Status to TN” for more detailed information on the change of status procedure as it applies to TN.

For more information on the procedure for applying for a TN visa, please see the Department of State website.

(Updated 10/10/2012 by AG)

For more information on the TN category, please click one of the following links: