The TN1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa classification available to citizens of Canada. With a TN1 Visa, Canadian citizens can live and work in the United States for extended periods. The TN1 classification permits them to work in the USA for up to 3 years initially, but this duration can be extended over and over without limit.

The TN Visa was created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to hasten temporary employment in the United States for eligible Canadian and Mexican citizens. The sole aim was to consolidate business and trade relations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

To qualify for a TN1 visa, you will have to work in the USA in one of the professions on the list of TN occupations. You will also be expected to meet the educational standards and credentials necessary for the profession you intend to work in.

While a visa is not always required for a Canadian citizen entering as a NAFTA Professional, note that a visa can be issued to a qualified Canadian TN1 visa applicant upon request. A Canadian citizen without a TN visa can apply for TN non-immigrant status at a U.S. port-of-entry.

You can consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) websites for more info before getting to the point of entry. You can also find extensive information about obtaining TN status without applying for a visa on the U.S. Embassy Ottawa website.

Additionally, note that a Canadian who stays in a third country with a non-Canadian spouse and/or child(ren), and intends to enter the United States as a NAFTA professional with a family member(s), will have to apply for a TN visa to ensure that the family member(s) become eligible to apply for derivative TD non-immigrant visa(s).

If you choose to apply at a port of entry, your processing time may only take a few hours. Meanwhile, if you choose to apply by mail, the required time to process your petition will depend on the number of applications at the USCIS service center.

You can expect it to take about six months to process your I-129H1. Howbeit, you can choose to pay extra for premium processing, which will hasten your TN petition’s processing time to 15 business days.

Although premium processing will reduce your processing time, do not think that it will in any way increase your chances of getting approved. If the USCIS fails to process your petition after you have filed the I-907 premium processing form, your premium processing fee will be refunded and your petition will be handled normally.

Pros and Cons of the TN1 Visa

Truth be told, there are benefits and disadvantages associated with this kind of visa. These pros and cons include;


  • As a Canadian citizen, there’s little or no need to apply for a TN visa at a consulate or embassy. You can easily request TN classification at your point of entry into the United States by presenting the required documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at specific U.S. ports of entry or a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.
  • There is a wide array of professions that are protected by the TN visa. This includes economists, foresters, hotel managers, and dieticians to name a few. However, you will be expected to show proof of education, qualification, or membership in a professional group to qualify.
  • You can select your U.S. employer even before you land in the United States, including where they are situated. Note that the only stipulation is that the full or part-time work will have to align with a NAFTA profession.
  • You also get the opportunity to sponsor your spouse and children to come with you to the United States, and they can stay with you for the duration of your visa. Nonetheless, some terms and conditions apply.


  • TN1 status is only open to Canadian nationals
  • This is a non-immigrant visa, and this simply entails that it is temporary and may not necessarily offer a path to U.S. citizenship or a green card. The TN visa is not a “dual intent” visa. This means that you can’t use it to work in the United States while seeking permanent residence or you could face certain penalties.
  • Although the list of professions that qualify for the TN visa is massive, note that every profession necessitates a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement. If a baccalaureate is needed, the experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative to a bachelor’s degree is noted.
  • You are expected to also pre-arrange your employment before applying for the TN visa. You cannot apply for the visa and then choose your employer.
  • While you are allowed to with your family to the United States, this only includes your spouse and children under the age of 21. Note that you are not permitted to sponsor other family members and requirements and eligibility vary depending on the nationality of your spouse or dependents.
  • Also, note that your spouse and children may not qualify to work and will have to leave the United States when your TN visa status expires. They can, however, study during their time in the United States.

How Do You Apply for TN1 Visa?

To apply for a TN1 visa as a Canadian citizen, you can either:

  • Apply directly at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry when entering the U.S. or;
  • Have your employer submit the TN application along with Form I-129 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and then seek entry once approved at a U.S. port of entry

Basic Requirements of Applying for TN1 Visa

Anyone looking to apply for a TN-1 visa will be expected to meet the following basic requirements;

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Have a US job offer in an eligible profession that requires someone with professional skills
  • Satisfy the educational or qualification requirements for the job
  • Applications for the TN-1 Visa

Documents Needed to Apply for TN1 Visa

Although it is possible to apply for a TN1 visa as a Canadian with minimal documentation, it is recommended that candidates obtain all the necessary documents to guarantee a smooth and successful application. The documents you will need to provide at the border include:

  • A detailed description of the position from the US employer, noting that the position is temporary, its necessary duration, and including extensive details of why it is a professional occupation. This document will also need to ascertain that the candidate will be a direct employee, and state the salary level. In addition, vital information about the nature of the employer’s business should be included.
  • Proof of the candidate’s qualifications, including, where necessary, evidence of the US equivalency of any foreign qualifications. Note that this confirmation is most often obtained by a qualified credentials evaluator or US academic, and will have to be accompanied by verbatim translations of any certificates/transcripts in languages other than English.
  • A copy of the candidate’s resume (curriculum vitae).
  • The original Canadian passport (if applicable), and, if possible, copies of the candidate’s previous passports, visa stamps, and I-94s.
  • Details of the candidate’s Social Security Number (if applicable)
  • Particulars of the candidate’s foreign address
  • A copy of the employment contract.
  • Information on the employing company, including proof of ability to pay the wages offered.
  • If necessary, a license that enables the candidate to work in the US.

How Much Does TN1Visa Application Process Cost?

When compared with other non-immigrant work visas, have it in mind that the TN1 is relatively cheap. If you intend to apply by mail, you will be required to pay a $555 I-129H1 petition filing fee. If you intend to apply at the border or port of entry, you will only have to pay a $50 application fee and a second fee of $6 for your I-94 arrival/departure card.


Canadian citizens can easily gain entry to the US, especially when compared to a good number of other nationals, and this preferential treatment is due to treaty provisions within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Although there are numerous NAFTA-related visas, the most viable one is the TN1.

The TN1 visa is a powerful non-immigrant visa classification available to citizens of Canada, and with this visa, you can live and work in the USA for extended periods. If you have any questions or need help with the TN visa, you should reach out to an immigration expert or lawyer.