Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

TN-1 Visas for Canadian Professionals and Consultants

Who Is Eligible

A Canadian citizen who seeks temporary entry as a professional may be admitted to the United States under the provisions of Appendix 1603.D.1 of Chapter 16 of NAFTA on a TN visa. This classification of work visa is limited to Canadian professionals employed on a professional level. Activities at a “professional level” refer to undertakings that require an individual to have at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate license demonstrating status as a professional, where a professional is generally defined as a person with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree where the job in question requires this degree as its minimum entry-level requirement. Unless otherwise specified, a bachelor’s degree of three or four years is the minimum requirement for professionals. On the List of Professionals, Canadian management consultants are required to have either a bachelor’s degree or “five years of experience in consulting or related field.” Management consultants provide services that are directed toward improving the managerial, operating, and economic performance of public and private entities by analyzing and resolving strategic and operating problems and thereby improving the entity’s goals, objectives, policies, strategies, administration, organization or operation. A management consultant should generally not be a regular, full-time employee of the entity requiring service. There are, however, instances where full-time employment is a possibility. In these cases, the management consultant should not be assuming an existing position, replacing someone in an existing position, or filling a newly created permanent position. In short, the management consultant should either be an independent consultant or the employee of a consulting firm under contract to a U.S. entity, or the consultant, if salaried, should be in a temporary position. Unlike business persons and professionals listed in the “general service” business visitor category, professionals are permitted to be employed in the United States by either Canadian or U.S. companies and receive remuneration in the United States. Athletes and entertainers are specifically omitted from the List of Professionals. Also, self-employment is specifically precluded from TN status.

How To Apply

Filing for a TN visa must be made at a Class A port of entry or at a U.S. pre-flight inspection (PFI) station. The application fee for a TN visa application is to be paid at that time, and approval of the visa is obtained the same day of travel. Labor Dispute Denial – A citizen of Canada may be denied TN visa status if the Secretary of Labor certifies to the USCIS Commissioner that a strike or other labor dispute involving a work stoppage of workers is in progress at the place where the foreign national is or intends to be employed, and that the temporary entry of the foreign national may adversely affect either the settlement of any labor dispute that is in progress at the place or intended place of employment or the employment of any person who is involved in such dispute.


While a license is required to practice certain professions in the U.S., possession of such a license is not required for visa issuance or admission. Local authorities must enforce any licensure requirements. For example, an applicant who has a law degree, but no U.S. license to practice in this country may be issued a visa and admitted to the U.S. to practice law. It is the responsibility of the local authorities to ensure the foreign national obtains all necessary licenses to practice. Click here to see a list of professionals eligible for temporary entry into the United States.

Documentation Requirements

To demonstrate business activity at a professional level, the applicant must submit documentation in the form of a job offer letter from the prospective employer in the United States or Canada, as well as supporting documents such as licenses, diplomas, degrees, certificates, or membership in professional organizations. As set out in the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations under NAFTA, the documentation should confirm the following:

  1. The nature of the professional activity;
  2. The purpose of the entry;
  3. The anticipated length of stay;
  4. That their stay is for a temporary period that has a reasonable, finite end that does not equate to permanent residence;
  5. The educational qualifications or appropriate credentials that demonstrate that the Canadian citizen has professional status;
  6. That the Canadian citizen complies with all applicable state laws and/or licensing requirements for the occupation; and
  7. The arrangements for remuneration for services to be rendered.Duration of Visa

A TN visa is granted for up to one year. At the end of each one-year period, the Canadian citizen may reapply for another TN visa. An extension of a TN visa can be filed in the U.S. only at the USCIS Nebraska Service Center, and the law does not give a limit to the number of extensions that will be allowed, however all TN employment is temporary.

Extensions of TN

Canadians can apply for extensions of a TN visa either by returning to the border and applying through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), or by filing Form I-129 with appropriate filing fee and copies of required documents, and the Form I-94. Applications with Form I-539 must be filed concurrently by dependent family members with appropriate filing fees. A Canadian or non-Canadian spouse or unmarried minor child of a TN visa holder is entitled to a TD classification for the same length of stay as the principal. A visa from a U.S. consulate is required when applying for admission for a non-Canadian citizen, while a border crossing identification card (Form I-94) is issued to a Canadian citizen, and no visa is required. The spouse and unmarried minor children of a TN holder cannot accept employment in the United States. Domestic workers of TN visa holders can receive a B-1 visa.