TN1 Visa for Canadians

Canadians can often gain entry to the US with greater ease than others; this preferential treatment for Canadians is linked to treaty provisions within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While there are many NAFTA related visas, the most useful one is the TN1. The TN1 visa was modeled on the H-1B; it may only be used where the employer is based in the US, and the candidate is a professional in one of the categories listed on below. Where a candidate, by their profession and nationality, qualifies for the TN1 visa, it has the following advantages over the H-1B visa:

  • It is granted for one year, but can continue to be renewed indefinitely.
  • It can be applied for at the border with the US, and is usually granted immediately.
  • The documentary requirements and procedure is far less burdensome than the H-1B visa.

The TN1 visa is granted for a specific employer. If needed for more than one employer, multiple TN1 visa applications need to be made. Self-employed professionals would not be able to come under this particular visa category, and may consider the E2 Treaty Investor category under NAFTA.

While it is possible to apply under the TN1 visa with minimal documentation, it is prudent for candidates to arm themselves with the following documents at the border with the US:

  • A description of the position from the US employer, confirming that the position is temporary, and including full details of why it is a professional occupation. This should also confirm that the candidate will be a direct employee, and state the salary level. Further, some information about the nature of the employer's business should be included.
  • Proof of the candidate's qualifications, including, where appropriate, confirmation of the US equivalency of any foreign qualifications. This confirmation is generally obtained by a qualified credentials evaluator or US academic, and must 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 relevant, copies of the candidate's previous passports, visa stamps, and I-94s.
  • Details of the candidate's Social Security Number (if applicable).
  • Details of the candidate's foreign address.
  • A copy of the employment contract.
  • Details of the employing company, including proof of ability to pay the wages offered.
  • If relevant, a license enabling the candidate to work in the US.

Professionals that qualify under the TN1 visa category

  • Accountant, Architect, Computer scientists, Disaster relief insurance claims adjuster, Economist, Engineer, Forester, Graphic designer, Hotel manager, Industrial designer, Interior designer, Land surveyor, Landscape architect, Lawyer, Librarian, Management consultant, Mathematician, Range manager/range conservationist, Research assistant, Scientific technician/technologistSocial worker, Sylviculturist, Technical publications writer, Urban planner, Vocational counsellor,
  • Medical/allied professional (dentist, dietician, medical laboratory technologist, nutritionist, occupational therapist, pharmacist, physician, physical therapist, psychologist, recreational therapist, registered nurse and veterinarian),
  • Scientist (agriculturist, animal breeder, animal scientist, apiculturist, astronomer, biochemist, biologist, chemist, dairy scientist, entomologist, epidemiologist, geneticist, geo-chemist, geologist, geophysicist, geologist, geophysicist, horticulturist, meteorologist, pharmacologist, physicist, plant breeder, poultry scientist, soil scientist and zoologist),
  • Teacher (college, seminary, university).

Avoid the Common TN (TN1) Visa Mistakes

When applying for your TN1 (TN) Visa, know the common mistakes that get people rejected and ensure you avoid them. Since 9/11 and other various terrorist attacks, Immigration Officers have been scrutinizing TN1 Visa Applications much more carefully. This means that TN1 Visa applicants need to ensure their application is valid, professional, and most importantly, that they are well prepared for the border interview.

1 Establish Nonimmigrant intent

The TN1 Visa is a temporary visa; your intent to stay in the U.S. is temporary. Establish this in your letter, and if asked at the border interview.

2 State the correct Job Title

Ensure your TN1 Letter clearly shows the NAFTA Occupation you are applying under and how you qualify for this.

3 Have complete documentation

Having complete documentation is critical. Degrees, certification letters, work experience letters, transcripts - depending on your situation these are examples of the documentation that you will require.


  • This is a very subjective visa, be prepared for the border interview.
  • Dress professionally, be respectful and do not lose your temper or get fed up (even if you are required to wait a long time at the border). It is up to the discretion of the Immigration Officer whether you qualify - do not give them reasons to deny you.
  • Bring cash to pay for the TN Status.
  • For further assistance: get a Do it yourself TN Visa Application Kit or if you can afford it hire a lawyer.

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