Columbus Immigration Visa Attorney Discusses the TN Visa for Canadian and Mexican Nationals Engaged in work Activities at a Professional Level

North America.jpgA popular alternative to the H-1B and L-1 visas for Canadian or Mexican nationals is the TN Visa. This visa allows temporary immigration to the United States for persons from Canada or Mexico who hold a baccalaureate degree or appropriate level of credential status, qualifying them as a professional. This visa has several advantages over other available options for citizens of the NAFTA treaty countries over and above the benefits of H-1B or L-1 visas. Due to the specialized documentation needed in order to properly apply for a TN visa, the representation of an experienced immigration attorney is recommended when applying for TN visas.


The TN visa is based upon the NAFTA treaty signed by Canada, Mexico and the United State. The purpose of this visa is to allow for the mobility of professionals between the three countries in recognition that the common borders of the NAFTA signatories lend themselves to multinational business across their shared boundaries. Therefore, professionals holding a baccalaureate degree or equivalent credentials may be eligible to apply, including those citizens of Canada who graduated from a three year degree program.

There are various statutory requirements that need to be proven in the TN visa petition. Generally, it needs to be shown that the applicant is indeed a citizen of Canada or Mexico and that he person is indeed a professional. Proof of a professional and lawful work engagement requires the careful drafting of a letter, explaining the purpose and length of stay.

Advantages of the TN Visa

There are several advantages of the TN visa over other the L-1 or H-1b visa:

  1. There is no statutory limit on the length of stay in the United States;
  2. A four year baccalaureate degree is not a hard line requirement, equivalency to a baccalaureate degree may be shown;
  3. A three year baccalaureate degree may be used to meet the educational requirement in certain situations;
  4. Part time employment is permitted;
  5. Change of job location with the same employer does not necessarily require the filing of a new petition;
  6. TN Visas may be processed at the port of entry instead of the central USCIS processing facilities;
  7. The petition does not require the filing of an LCA.

Drawbacks of the TN Visa

There are two main drawbacks for the TN visa that need to be taken into consideration before applying:

  1. There can be no dual intent for TN visa holders. This means that a TN visa holder will run into trouble in obtaining a Green Card while on TN visa status. There are also side effects of the “no immigrant intent” rule for TN visa holders, such as the inability to obtain in-state tuition in the US;
  2. No Self Employment: TN visa holders cannot work for a company in which they hold an interest.


The TN visa presents an attractive option to many foreign nationals of Canada and Mexico. If you have questions about an immigration visa or green card matter, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.