VIDEO: Are there special employment visas in the U.S. for people from Canada and Mexico?

Are there any special visas available for citizens of Canada or Mexico who want to come to the United States and work? I am Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in St. Louis, Missouri. There is a special visa called the TN visa which was created as part of the North America Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA back under President Clinton, that allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to come to the United States and work on a special visa program known as the TN visa.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the TN visa is not for everyone. You have to be in one of the listed qualified professions in NAFTA. These include all the professions like engineering, accounting, legal, education, medical type jobs, scientist type jobs, a lot of the health care industry is covered by NAFTA and the TN visa so you have to check to make sure that yours is one of the listed professions.

Generally, you’re going to need a bachelor’s degree and you’re going to have to show that you have a pre-arranged full-time job in the United States and that you have the qualifications to do the job. Now, the process works a little bit differently for Canadians and it does for Mexicans. If you’re a Canadian, you can actually gather up all the documents and process right through at a registered customs, board of control facility, that is you don’t necessarily have to go and get your TN visas approved ahead of time.

Now, in our experience, it’s a much better approach to file the I-129 which is the form you do to get the TN visa and to have that all approved before you try to come through customs because you’ll never know what’s going to happen when you meet with a customs official and whether you have all the documents.

In our recommendation, the better approach is to file the I-129, pay the filing fee and to get it approved before you come through customs. That way you can bring your approval notice with you and the documents that you submitted in support of the TN visa application so that you’ll hopefully sail right through. If you’re a Mexican, you have to apply for the I-129 ahead of time. You cannot simply show up at customs and come across to work in the United States on a TN visa. You have to get the approval, the I-129, ahead of time.

TN visa last for up to three years. It can be renewed under certain circumstances and it’s actually an expedited procedure for renewing the TN visa. If you have any questions about the TN visa, if you’re from Canada or Mexico and would like to come to the United States to work under TN visa, please feel free to give us a call, 314-961-8200 or you can shoot me an e-mail, jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks.