TN-2 Visas for Mexicans Professionals and Consultants
Who Is Eligible
A Mexican 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 Mexican professionals employed on a professional level. Activities at a “professional level” generally mean undertakings that require an individual to have at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate license demonstrating status as a professional. 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, Mexican management consultants are allowed 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 under TN status must be employed in the United States by a U.S. company, and must 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
On and after January 1, 2004, Mexican citizens who qualify for TN visas must file the necessary paperwork with a U.S. Consulate anywhere in the world in order to receive a TN visa. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the Embassy or Consulate is required for most visa applicants. Interviews are generally by appointment only. As part of the visa interview, a quick, two-digit, ink-free fingerprint scan can generally be expected. The waiting time for an interview appointment for most applicants is a few weeks or less, but for some embassy consular sections it can be considerably longer. The Mexican citizen seeking a TN visa is not required to obtain petition approval from the CIS, nor is a Labor Condition Application (LCA) required. Furthermore, Mexicans are no longer subject to numerical limitation for these professionals. Mexican citizens still require a visa to request admission to the United States.
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, as well as supporting documents such as licenses, diplomas, degrees, certificates, or membership in professional organizations. The documentation should confirm the following:
- The nature of the professional activity;
- The purpose of the entry;
- The anticipated length of stay;
- That their stay is for a temporary period that has a reasonable, finite end that does not equate to permanent residence;
- The educational qualifications or appropriate credentials that demonstrate that the Mexican citizen has professional status;
- That the Mexican citizen complies with all applicable state laws and/or licensing requirements for the occupation; and
- The arrangements for remuneration for services to be rendered.
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.
Duration of Visa
A TN visa is granted for up to six months by a U.S. Consulate, even though upon admission to the U.S., USCIS will grant up to a one year stay on Form I-94 and extensions or a new TN visa of up to one year. 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 as to the number of TN extensions that are allowed to one individual. However, all TN employment is temporary.
Extensions of TN
Mexicans apply for extensions of a TN visa 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.
Status of Spouse and Minor Children
A Mexican or non-Mexican spouse or unmarried minor child of a TN visa holder is entitled to TD classification for the same length of stay as the principal. The spouse and unmarried minor children cannot accept employment in the United States. There is a reciprocity visa fee for admission of the Mexican spouse and dependent minor children under TD classification. Domestic workers of TN visa holders can receive a B-1 visa.