University of California, Riverside

International Students and Scholars Office

TN NAFTA Professionals

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN visa is for citizens of Canada and Mexico who seek temporary entry to engage in activities of a professional level in the United States.

The position to be occupied by the scholar must be listed as a professional occupation under NAFTA Appendix 1603. D. 1.

Eligibility Criteria

Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN non-immigrants are: accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. The scholar may be eligible for TN non-immigrant status, if:

  • He/She is a citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional
  • Job offer with a UCR and
  • He/She has the qualifications to practice in the profession in question

Eligibility may be established for TN classification at the time of admission to the United States.


The visa is valid for up to three (3) years, which can be extended through USCIS

If scholar wishes to remain in the United States beyond the initial period of stay without first departing from the United States, an extension is needed. ISC can apply through the USCIS on the scholar’s behalf.

Alternatively, the scholar may depart from the United States before the date TN status expires, and, once abroad, reapply at the port of entry a TN renewal

Documents Required

  • Proof of citizenship
    • Canadian citizens are generally exempt from the passport requirement; while they may establish Canadian citizenship by showing a Canadian passport, they may also establish it through other documentation, such as a short or long-form Canadian birth certificate, or a certificate of Canadian naturalization
    • Mexican citizens must present a Mexican passport, which should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay being requested.
  • Support letter from UCR describing position details, the purpose of employment, the length of stay, and scholars educational qualifications;
  • Credentials evaluation (if applicable).

Application Process

Application for the TN visa is made by the individual at the U.S. Border (Canadians) or consulate (Mexicans).  An offer letter from UCR must be provide to the scholar describing the position offered, job duties, job salary, indicating the position is listed as a professional occupation under NAFTA Appendix 1603.D. 1. The scholar must also pay any applicable inspection fees at the time of admission.

Mexican citizens must obtain a TN visa from a U.S. Consulate before being eligible to apply for admission to the United States in TN status.

Canadian citizens do not require a TN visa. A Canadian simply presents the required supporting documentation at a U.S. port-of-entry, and is admitted directly in TN status.

Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants

Any accompanying spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. Spouses and children are:

  • Not permitted to work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study.
  • Granted TD status for no longer than the period of time granted to the principal TN nonimmigrant.


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

International Students and Scholars Office
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113
Fax: (951) 827-3248