Applying for TN


For Canadian Citizens Canadian citizens can apply for admission to the United States directly with the Department of Homeland Security at a port of entry. Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement in general, meaning that they do not have to get a TN (or TD-dependent) Visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

Non-Canadian dependent spouses or children of Canadian citizens are not exempt from the Visa requirement. A Canadian residing in another country with a non-Canadian spouse and child would need a TN visa to enable the spouse and child to be able to apply for a visa to accompany or join the NAFTA Professional, as a TD visa holder. Canadians applying for a visa will follow the same documentation requirements as Mexican Citizens.

Canadian citizens should provide the following information at a U.S. Port of Entry to be allowed into the United States in TN-status:

  1. Provide Proof of Citizenship
  2. Provide detailed letter of employment from the U.S. employer. Letter should:
    1. affirm the Appendix 1603.D.1 profession of the applicant;
    2. describe the duties the applicant will perform in the U.S.;
    3. reference the anticipated length of stay;
    4. review the educational qualifications or credentials which demonstrate the applicant has professional-level status;
    5. describe the arrangements for payment for the services to be rendered;
    6. The appendix list and occupation requirements can be found here:
  3. Provide evidence that the job is in one of the occupations listed in Appendix 1603.D.1
    1. This can be in the form of a copy of the Appendix, with a statement in the employer letter or cover letter specifically placing the employment within one of the occupations listed;
    2. The appendix list and occupation requirements can be found here:
  4. Provide evidence that the individual has the required credentials for the job as stated in Appendix 1603.D.1
    1. The TN visa applicant must present his or her credentials, including diplomas, transcripts, licenses, certificates or other documentation. The Department of State and Department of Homeland Security have the right to request to see these documents in original form or certified copies, so the applicant should be prepared with originals or certified copies;
    2. Any credentials obtained outside the U.S., Canada or Mexico should be accompanied by a credentials evaluation;
    3. If the applicant is seeking to prove work experience that is necessary to meet the TN requirements, the applicant should submit letters from previous employers or business records for proof of self-employment;
    4. In general, there must be a reasonable connection between the academic or professional credentials of the individual and the duties that will be performed. If the connection is not obvious, a reasonable argument should be provided to support the application.
  5. Provide statement that the purpose of the entry to the U.S. is temporary. Although this may be set forth in the employer’s letter, the applicant should articulate it at the time of admission

For Mexican Citizens

A Mexican citizen must obtain a TN visa, and his or her dependents must obtain a TD visa, prior to being admitted to the United States under NAFTA. This means that Mexican citizens must make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain the TN or TD Visa.


  1. Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit the DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160 online process.
  2. A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
  3. One (1) 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in Photograph Requirements - A photograph is not required if you are applying in Mexico.
  4. Letter of Employment in the U.S. Additionally, the applicant’s employer in the U.S. must provide an employment letter that includes the following:
    1. The letter must indicate that the position in question in the U.S. requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity, consistent with the NAFTA Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Appendix 1603.d.1.
  5. The applicant must present evidence of professional employment to satisfy the Consular Officer of your plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level. Part-time employment is permitted. Self-employment is not permitted. An employment letter or contract providing a detailed description of the business activities may be provided from the U.S. or foreign employer, and should state the following:
    1. Activity in which the applicant shall be engaged and purpose of entry;
    2. Anticipated length of stay;
    3. Educational qualifications or appropriate credentials demonstrating professional status;
    4. Evidence of compliance with DHS regulations, and/or state laws; and
    5. Arrangements for pay.
    6. Although not required, proof of licensure to practice a given profession in the U.S. may be offered along with a job offer letter, or other documentation in support of a TN visa application.


If the Canadian or Mexican citizen is present in the United States in another nonimmigrant classification (i.e. F-1, H-1B, etc.), it is possible to file an application with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to change status to TN, without traveling outside the United States. An individual must have a valid nonimmigrant status in order to be eligible for a change of status, and must wait until the change of status is approved before he or she begins employment in TN status.

If a Mexican citizen changes to TN within the U.S., the next time he or she exits the United States for travel, he or she must get a TN or TD visa prior to returning to the U.S. to resume work in TN status.

Syracuse University departments who wish to process a TN petition on behalf of an employee must contact the Slutzker Center to initiate processing.

Application procedures to change status within the U.S.

  1. File Form I-129 (form will be completed by the Slutzker Center for International Services)
  2. File Nonimmigrant Classification Based on Free Trade Agreement Supplement to the Form I-129 (to be completed by the Slutzker Center for International Services)
  3. File I-129 Application Fee (to be paid by the department)
  4. Provide proof of citizenship
  5. Provide detailed job letter from the employer (to be provided by the department)
  6. Provide evidence that the job is in one of the occupations listed in Appendix 1603.D.1
  7. Provide evidence that the individual has the required credentials for the job as stated in Appendix 1603.D.1
  8. Provide proof of current immigration status


According to 8 C.F.R. § 274.12 (b) (20), if the TN applicant is currently in TN status with Syracuse University, it is possible for the applicant to continue working for Syracuse University for up to 240 days after the expiration of the current TN status as long as the TN extension was timely filed. Timely filing means that US Citizenship and Immigration Services must receive the I-129, TN application before the expiration of the current TN. The Slutzker Center for International Services will authorize employment to continue as soon as the I-797 receipt notice (the official notice of application receipt from USCIS) arrives before the expiration of the current TN.