Sponsorship of TN (Temporary) Visas

The TN visa category is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and enables Canadian and Mexican citizens to enter the United States to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis. There is no U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) limit on the number of workers granted TN status each year. The TN visa category requires that the applicant:

  • Is a citizen of Canada or Mexico (landed immigrants or permanent residents do not qualify);
  • Enters the U.S. on a “temporary” basis;
  • Possesses the minimum qualifications of one of the professions specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty (the Appendix also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation with the most common minimum requirement being a Baccalaureate degree and licensure, if required for the profession).

A foreign national must have licensure before he or she can obtain TN status. Important Note: If a Canadian or Mexican citizen obtained his or her credentials in a country other than Canada, Mexico, or the U.S., USCIS may request that the foreign national obtain an equivalency evaluation from a reliable credential evaluation service (refer to Academic Credentials).

Both Canadian and Mexican citizens can be admitted to the United States in TN status in increments of up to three years. Hiring departments should not provide a letter of employment beyond the official contract or approved term of employment with the University. There is no cumulative time limit on TN status, and a status can be renewed each year indefinitely provided that the stay remains temporary in nature. Extensions of stay are granted in up to three-year increments.

Hiring departments should not provide a letter of employment beyond the official contract or approved term of employment with the University. Canadians citizens can apply for an extension of TN status either at a U.S.-Canadian pre-flight or port-of-entry inspection facility or by filing an application for extension of stay with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Procedures are required documentation are the same as for new entries (port-of-entry) or change of status (USCIS). Refer to Changing to TN Visa Status

Mexican citizens can apply for extension of stay through the USCIS or depart the country and apply for a new TN at a U.S. consulate. Procedures and required documentation are the same as for initial entry or change of status. Refer to Changing to TN Visa Status

Processing requirements differ for Canadians and Mexicans. Mexican citizens are required to obtain TN visas from a U.S. consulate before they can enter the U.S. in TN status. Canadian citizens are exempt from this requirement. It is the responsibility of the TN visitor to complete the required USCIS forms and pay all applicable fees.

The University will only sponsor TN visitors for “temporary” academic (EPA teaching or research) positions. In order to begin the TN sponsorship process:

  • Complete the Criminal Conviction Check process and receive full clearance for hiring;
  • Complete and submit a detailed Offer of Employment letter to foreign national visitor, requesting a written confirmation of acceptance of the employment offer. The letter should also:
    • Certify the Appendix 1603.D.1 profession of the applicant;
    • Describe the job duties to be performed by the visitor;
    • Indicate the anticipated length of stay (not to exceed three years);
    • Describe the educational qualifications or credentials that demonstrate the visitor’s professional level status;
    • Indicate the salary to be paid to the visitor; and
    • Confirm that the visitor meets all licensing requirements (if applicable).

Foreign visitors must complete the requirements to secure visa for entry (refer to the U.S. Department of State for full visa requirements). The hiring department must coordinate with the foreign visitor to establish a first day of work and ensure this date is reflected on the completed new hire documentation. The first day of work must also be confirmed with the Student and Foreign National Employment Manager in the Division of Human Resources in order to schedule an appointment for check-in upon arrival to the U.S.