TN Employment Status and Work Permit for Canadian and Mexican Citizens in the US.

According to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Canadian and Mexican Citizens can gain the opportunity to work in the United States in a wide range of positions that come under the USMCA TN classification. While the TN classification certainly comes with some limitations, there are many cases in which it can provide US employers with a very efficient process for bringing “professional” labor from Canada and Mexico.

This article will outline the TN status or classification under which Canadian and Mexican Citizens can work in the U.S.

Who Qualifies for TN Status?

The TN category or classification was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was eventually replaced by the currently named USMCA. Notably, the TN category is only available for Canadian and Mexican Citizens who are those holding a Canadian and/or Mexican passport. In order to qualify, the Mexican or Canadian Citizen must be coming to the United States to perform work for a U.S company (sponsored).

Moreover, the proposed beneficiary must be qualified to work in any one of the 63 professions listed in the USMCA. This wide range of professions includes graphic designers, computer systems analysts, hotel managers, beekeepers, and many more. The minimum education, licensing, and experience requirements of the candidate for each of the 63 professions are also outlined in the USMCA.

Speedy Adjudication via Unusual Filing Procedures

In most cases, TN cases are filed using special procedures that allow for streamlined processes. However, in some cases, a standard I-129 petition may be filed by the relevant employer on behalf of the proposed TN worker. Further, a Canadian Citizen does not need to obtain a visa stamp in order to enter the U.S in the TN category. Moreover, the applicant is allowed to file a TN application in person, either at a port of entry (POE) or at a pre-flight inspection station (preflight clearance).

If the filed application is approved then the Canadian beneficiary may enter the U.S immediately in the TN category. On the other hand, it is necessary for a Mexican citizen to obtain a visa stamp at a US Consulate before being allowed to enter the US in TN status. Nevertheless, thanks to a procedural change in 2014, Mexican citizens can now file their TN applications directly at a consulate, rather than filing the petition with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Immigrant Intent not Permitted for TN Status

TN status is initially granted for up to 3 years and, as long as the beneficiary continues to meet the TN requirements, it can be indefinitely renewed. Unlike H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrant classifications, dual intent is specifically not allowed under TN status.

Therefore, if the beneficiary encounters a need or desire to pursue permanent residence status in the US or abandon ties to their home country, the TN worker and employer must obtain appropriate immigration advice and should contact their immigration legal counselor.

TD Status for Dependents

Dependents of TN workers, which includes spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, are eligible for a trade-dependent or TD status. While a TD status does not allow the beneficiary any authorization to work, they are permitted to remain in the US and to attend school.


TN status allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States in a wide range of professions. Moreover, TN status provides employers with a flexible and streamlined options to employ professional workers on a temporary basis.

If you have questions or want to access additional information about US or Canadian Immigration and Nationality Laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at the NPZ Law Group. If you have more questions about how these laws in the US may impact you or your famil