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The TN Visa Explored in Detail
The words TN VISA are written in bold font in the middle of the American 3D vector flag.

In this blog, we have discussed the following topics:

  • What is the TN visa?
  • Differences between TN and H1B visa
  • Eligibility for TN visa
  • Cost, Processing time, and Duration of TN visa

Similar to the TN Visa, the E3 Visa is given to citizens of Australia. It is interesting to look at the details of the E3 visa too.

What is the TN Visa?

If you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico, you will find it very beneficial to obtain a TN visa. To know how the TN visa came into existence, we need to turn back a few pages in the history of the United States. In 1994, the USA entered into an agreement with Canada and Mexico. The TN visa was created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under this Agreement, the US created the Treaty National Professionals Visa or the TN visa for Canadians and Mexicans to work and live in the US.

On July 1st, 2020, the United States -Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) came into effect. The USMCA substituted the NAFTA or North America Free Trade Agreement, thereby mutually benefiting farmers, ranchers, and businesses in North America. The Agreement boosts the North American economy by supporting trade and creating ample business opportunities for Americans.

The TN visa has two important contingencies:

  • It applies only to Canadians and Mexicans and allows them to work in the US.
  • It is a non-immigrant visa, which means the beneficiary must return to their home country when it expires.

The USMCA also mentions the specific types of jobs that TN visa holders can do during their status validity. As per the Agreement, Canadians and Mexicans qualify for 63 TN visa professions, including:

  • Scientists
  • Lawyers
  • Engineers
  • Teachers

You can log in to the NAFTA website to check if your qualifications fit any listed professions.

The TN visa USA is similar to the H1B visa. However, there are some distinct differences. Read on to know what they are.

TN Visa Versus H1B Visa: How are They Different?

  • Unlike the H1B visa, which requires a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), the TN visa does not require one. As a result, there are no specific working conditions or requirements for prevailing wages that the US sets. Such specifications are left entirely to the employer and employee's choice.
  • The employer is under no mandatory obligation to pay the visa expenses. They must pay only the Premium Processing fee and the Form I-129 petition fee.
  • There is no Cap limit for the TN visa, which means that any Canadian or Mexican who fulfills the requirement can easily obtain the visa. On the other hand, the H1B Lottery limits one's chance of acquiring the visa because only 85,000 slots are allotted every year.
  • The TN Visa can be extended any number of times. This is in stark contrast to the H1B visa, which is valid only for a total duration of six years, during which the holder must have a valid job in the US.
  • The H1B visa costs a lot more than the TN visa, although most of the expenses are borne by the employer.
  • The TN visa has only 63 occupations listed under the Agreement. The H1B is not minimal when it comes to qualifying occupations.
  • Under the TN visa, the holder must maintain the intent of returning to their home country. On the other hand, H1B is considered a "Dual Intent" visa. It allows the holder to apply for permanent residency or Green Card status in the US. TN Visa holders cannot do the same, for it is considered a violation of their status, and they may face legal consequences.

TN1 and TN2 Visa Categories and TN Visa Requirements for Eligibility

Basically, there are two TN visa categories:

  • TN 1 for Canadian citizens.
  • TN 2 for Mexican citizens.

To be eligible for TN status, applicants need:

  • Passport or other proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship.
  • Proof that a NAFTA expert is required for the job position in the United States.
  • Full-time or part-time job in the United States with a U.S. employer or with a foreign employer with a U.S. entity
  • Bachelor's or master's degree.

And, of course, your job should be listed under the NAFTA professions.

What are the jobs listed under TN visa?

The TN Visa jobs are listed under NAFTA Chapter 16 and appendix 1603 D. 1. Other TN visa professions include those mentioned below:

  • Accountant
  • Architect
  • Dentist
  • Disaster relief insurance claims adjustor
  • Dietician
  • Economist

TN Visa Application Process, Cost & Processing Time

Is the TN visa application process similar for Canadians and Mexicans? No, there are slight differences in the application process,

If you are a Canadian citizen, you must do the following:

  • Directly apply with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry while coming to the US.
  • Ensure your employer submits Form I-129 and the TN application to the USCIS.
  • Seek entry into a US port of entry once the USCIS gives approval.

If you are a Mexican citizen, you should:

  • Submit the DS-160 and other paperwork to the US Embassy or Consulate.
  • Attend the visa interview.
  • Seek entry into a US port of entry after receiving the visa number.

What does the TN visa cost?

The TN visa doesn't cost as much as other non-immigrant visas. If you choose to send the petition by mail, you will have to bear the I-129 petition filing fee of $555. However, if you obtain it at the port of entry, you will have to pay an application fee of $50 and an additional fee of $6 for the I-94 departure/ arrival card. Other expenses include:

Premium Processing - $2,500. You should also speak with your immigration lawyer about variant costs for Form I-907.

TN Visa Processing time

TN visa processing time entirely depends upon how you apply your visa petition. If you choose to apply at the port of entry, the processing time will take only a few hours. However, if you send your petition by mail, the processing time depends on the workload of the USCIS service center. Generally, the processing time for I-129 H1 will take up to six months. Of course, you can also choose to expedite the process through Premium Processing, which will take 15 working days.

What is the duration of a TN visa?

TN visa is valid for three years. Besides, TN visa renewal can also be done multiple times by your employer, who can file the extension Form I-129 on your behalf. Please note that the TN visa is employer-specific, which means that you will have to apply for a new visa every time you change your employer.

Also Read: TN Visa, H1B, E3 & Other US Non-Immigrant Visa: An In-depth Exploration

The Finale

The process of obtaining a visa to live and work in the USA is time-consuming and expensive. TN visa, though a non-immigrant visa is much different from the H1B visa as explained in the article. Hope this article was helpful in understanding the finer details of this visa meant for the citizens of Canada and Mexico.

For more information about H1B and to know about US non-immigrant visas, follow/visit TechFetch H1B.

**Disclaimer: All TN visa processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for the latest information.

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