TN status for citizens of Canada and Mexico

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) established a TN nonimmigrant visa category for Canadian and Mexican citizens. Please contact Immigration Services to discuss employment for qualifying individuals. 

To be eligible for admission in TN status, the individual must satisfactorily demonstrate that:

  • He/she will engage in employment that is on NAFTA's list of qualifying professions (Appendix 1603.D.1).
  • The position requires the individual to have at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional.
  • He/she possesses the requisite educational background and experience for that profession.

TN status may be granted for as long as the employment offer specifies, up to 3 years, and may be extended in up to 3-year increments. 

Documentation for obtaining TN Status - TD status for dependents - TN Support Letter Template - Department of State TN Information

Documentation for obtaining TN Status

Canadian and Mexican citizens seeking admission to the United States in TN status should apply for admission with a U.S. immigration officer at a “Class A” port of entry, at a U.S. airport handling international traffic, or at a U.S. pre-clearance/pre-flight station, and should present the requested documentation sufficiently in advance of actual departure time (if traveling by air) to allow for processing. The applicant may wish to call the CBP inspection station at the planned port of entry ahead of time to verify that TN applications are accepted, since applications are not processed at every U.S.–Canada and U.S.–Mexico border crossing. The applicant should present:

  • Proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship [and TN visa stamp for Mexican citizens]
  • A letter from the employer on departmental letterhead with an original signature. Please be sure to provide copies to Immigration Services (TN Template Letter is provided below for your convenience). The letter should include:
    • A description of the professional activities, including a brief summary of daily job duties, if appropriate, that the applicant will engage in for UMMS
    • The applicant’s educational qualifications or appropriate credentials, that demonstrate that he/she has the professional level status and the qualifications needed for the position
    • The anticipated length of stay (not to exceed 3 years)
    • The specific arrangements for remuneration during the time period requested (annual salary from UMMS, amount and source of Canadian or Mexican funding with equivalent in U.S. dollars, etc.)
    • If required by state or local law, that the Canadian or Mexican citizen complies with all applicable laws and/or licensing requirements for the activity in which he or she will be engaged
  • Documentation, such as a photocopy of diploma, that establishes that the applicant possesses the educational, professional, and/or licensing requirements for the profession or occupation. Documentation not in English must be accompanied by a translation. Also, note that degrees, diplomas, or certificates from educational institutions not located within Canada, Mexico, or the United States must be accompanied by an evaluation from a reliable credential evaluation service that specializes in evaluating foreign credentials. Note: Some ports of entry request an original diploma or degree certificate, not a copy.

A Canadian or Mexican citizen who qualifies for TN status will be issued Form I-94 (arrival/departure record) with the indication “TN,” the date of entry, and the date of expiration (not to exceed 3 years), along with the notation “multiple entry.” 

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Obtaining TD Status for Dependents

The spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) of a TN scholar are eligible for TD status for the same period of admission as the TN scholar. Proof of family relationship may be necessary. If the TN scholar and dependents travel separately, proof of the scholar’s TN status (such as a copy of the scholar’s Form I-94) may also be required. Each dependent who is a Canadian citizen must present proof of Canadian citizenship. If a dependent is not a Canadian citizen, a valid passport with a TD visa stamp from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate must be presented. 

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TN Invitation Letter Template

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Dear CBP Inspector:

The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) seeks to temporarily employ <NAME OF APPOINTEE> as a <UMMS TITLE> in the <UMMS DEPARTMENT>. This appointment will begin on <START DATE> and end on <END DATE> and will provide an annual salary of <AMOUNT OF FUNDING FROM UMMS AND/OR OTHER SOURCES>. This offer may be renewed, depending upon performance and mutual agreement between UMMS and the employee.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $174 million in research funding annually, 80% of which comes from federal funding sources. Research funding enables UMMS scientists to explore human disease from the molecular level to large-scale clinical trials, which, in turn leads to new approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.
While at UMMS, <NAME OF APPOINTEE> will study the role of <BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH AND JOB DUTIES> under the direct supervision and support of a Principle Investigator. This position requires a <MINIMUM DEGREE> in <FIELD> or a related life science. Based on the position minimums and the corresponding requirements listed on NAFTA, Appendix 1603, <NAME OF APPOINTEE> qualifies as a <PROFESSION LISTED ON APPENDIX 1603> since he/she holds <APPOINTEES DEGREE> in <FIELD OF APPOINTEES DEGREE>.

We respectfully request that you allow <NAME OF APPOINTEE> entrance to the United States in TN status. Thank you for your consideration of this application.



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