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USMCA Professional (TN) Visa

The nonimmigrant USMCA Professional (TN) visa category is for Canadian and Mexican citizens. Please note that Canadian citizens can apply for TN (Trade NAFTA) visa status when entering the U.S., but Mexican citizens must first obtain a TN visa from an American Embassy/Consulate prior to entering the U.S. The TN visa enables Mexican and Canadian citizens (not landed immigrants or permanent residents) to be admitted to the U.S. to engage in “business activities at a professional level” in certain fields, for one or more specified employers.

To be eligible for admission in TN status, you must satisfactorily demonstrate to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that:

  • You will engage in professional level employment that is listed under Chapter 16, Appendix 2 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

  • You have at least a bachelor’s degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional

  • You possess the requisite educational background and experience for that profession

TN status may be granted for up to three (3) years, and this status may be extended indefinitely, for as long as the employment continues. However, this visa is not ideal for long-term use without strong ties back to Canada or Mexico or if seeking a green card in the U.S. This visa does not allow for dual intent, so applying for a green card is not advised.

Documentation to obtain TN status

The U.S. hospital department offering you a job will coordinate the TN paperwork and act as the liaison for our office for any questions you have. Not all roles will qualify for this visa. The hiring hospital can limit sponsorship to certain roles, the nature of the job may not be suitable for the visa, or an alternative visa may be required.

An application for TN status at an U.S. port of entry or border crossing must include:

  • Canadian or Mexican passport as proof of citizenship (Mexican citizens must obtain a TN visa from an American Embassy/Consulate)

  • An original letter of support on company letterhead with an original wet ink signature, revised by the Mass General Brigham Office for Global Professional and Scholars (GPS) and completed by the hiring department

  • Payment for processing fee(s)

  • Original degree(s) and copies of transcripts

  • Healthcare Worker Certificate, if applicable

  • CV(curriculum vitae)/resume

Entering the U.S.

Canadian citizens

A Canadian citizen seeking admission to the U.S. in TN status must apply for admission with a U.S. Immigration Officer at a "Class A" port of entry, at a U.S. airport handling international traffic, or at a U.S. pre-clearance/pre-flight station.

As pre-flight inspection may delay flight boarding, the TN applicant should allow additional time for this procedure. GPS recommends that the prospective TN call in advance to the pre-flight inspection station at the airport to inquire how much time to allow.

Canadians should be aware that TN status is not processed at every U.S.-Canadian border crossing. GPS recommends calling the USCIS inspection station at your planned U.S.-Canadian port of entry ahead of time to verify that TN applications are accepted.

Mexican citizens

Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican citizens must obtain a TN visa in their passport before seeking entry into the U.S. at a port of entry. Explore additional details for Mexicans citizens.

After entry to the U.S. the visa holder must retrieve their I-94, Record of Admission.

Change to TN status while in the U.S.

Your U.S. hospital department will coordinate the TN visa sponsorship with you, and act as the liaison with our office regarding any questions you have.

Eligible individuals who are already in the U.S. in another non-immigrant visa status may be eligible to apply for a change to TN status from within the U.S. GPS will submit these applications to USCIS. These applications may take a few months to process, during which time an applicant will not be eligible to travel out of the U.S. For this reason, it is often easier, faster, and more convenient to travel to extend or change non-immigrant status.

Note: Former J-1 Exchange Visitors who are subject to, but have not complied with, the two-year home country residence requirement are not eligible to change to TN status in the U.S.  However, it is possible to travel abroad and re-enter the U.S. with TN status. Obtaining TN status in this way does not remove the two-year residency requirement; it merely postpones the obligation.


​​​​The spouse and unmarried children under age 21 of an employee or scholar admitted in TN status (for Canadian and Mexican citizens) are eligible for TD (Trade Dependent) status for the same period of admission as the TN visa holder. TD status does not permit employment in the U.S.

Proof of the family’s relationships may be necessary (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate). If the TN and dependents travel outside of the U.S. separately, proof of the scholar’s TN status (such as a copy of the TN’s I-94 card) may also be required.

All TD dependents without Canadian citizenship must obtain a TD visa from an American embassy/consulate.