TN Status Remains for Nurses

March 21st, 2017

US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) has not changed its policy on admitting nurses as TNs (Treaty Nafta). The following is a statement from US CBP issued on March 17, 2017:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not had any policy changes that would affect TN status. One of the most common issues CBP sees is improper paperwork presented by the traveler in relation to the position classification they are applying under. Another common issues is the lack of proper documents needed to grant a TN nonimmigrant classification. Each application for TN status is evaluated by the inspecting officer, and the decision is made on the totality of the evidence provided. Every application for TN status is a separate inspection, and the decision to approve or deny is based on the merits of that individual case. Under title 8 of the code of regulations (8 CFR) Part 214 appendix 1603.D.1 it lists Registered Nurse—with a state/provincial license or Licenciatura Degree as an acceptable classification to obtain a TN nonimmigrant classification as a Canadian or Mexican citizen. Below are a few tips for registered nurses for a smooth TN Processing:

Canadian citizens do not need a visa for the TN classification
Diploma showing related education
Letter from Employer for TN Applicants to include the following information:
Name of employer
Position in the company
List of the nature of the job duties
Length of stay in the U.S.
Amount they are being paid
Evidence of education qualifications
Must be on company letterhead with original signatures
For registered nurse TN applicants, they must present a certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) – Often referred to as a VisaScreen

Restrictions on Third-Country National Visa Processing In Mexico

November 5th, 2008

The U.S. Consular Mission in Mexico has made it more difficult for Third Country Nationals (TCNs) who are not residents of Mexico to obtain nonimmigrant visas in Mexico.  In particular, it will bar F-1 students who changed status to H-1B from obtaining an initial H-1B visa there.  The following are the specific guidelines for processing of third country national nonimmigrant visas, which can be found at the US Consular Mission in Mexico’s website.

Third Country Nationals

*Visas for Non Mexican Nationals (“third country nationals” – TCNs) Who Live in the United States and Who Wish to Apply for Visas in Mexico

Third Country Nationals residing in the United States who wish to apply for a visa in Mexico may make their interview appointment at any of the ten posts comprising Mission Mexico on-line at on “English” if necessary) or by phone at 1-900-476-1212.  Appointment numbers are limited and may be unavailable at some posts because of other demands so flexibility in where you wish to apply is helpful.

Who Can Apply in Mexico

  • Applicants seeking to renew their visa in any category except B1/2 (tourist/business), if the initial visa was issued in the applicant’s country of former residence.  
  • Applicants seeking to renew their visa in any category except B1/2 (tourist/business), if the initial visa was issued in the applicant’s country of former residence, and a subsequent visa by a consular post in Mexico. 

Notice:  Certain visa applicants may be subject to additional administrative processing.  This administrative processing may last weeks, thus delaying visa delivery and the applicant’s return to the United States.  Every effort will be made to expedite these procedures; however, it is not possible to guarantee completion of this process by a particular date.

Who Cannot Apply in Mexico:

  • Applicants for B1/2 visas, including renewals are not accepted from third country nationals who are not resident in Mexico.
  • Applicants who entered the U.S. with a visa issued in their home country and changed status with Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. who seek a new visa in the new visa category 
  • Applicants who entered the United States in one visa category and are seeking to re-enter the U.S. in a different visa category. 
  • Applicants who have been out of status in the U.S. having violated the terms of their visas or having overstayed the validity indicated on their I-94s. 
  • Applicants who entered the U.S. under the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program.  
  • Applicants who obtained their current visa in a country other than that of their legal residence. 
  • PLEASE NOTE:  If you were informed when you obtained the original visa in your home country that you are subject to National Security Entry Exit Registrations (NSEERs) or are a national of North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan or Iran, you are not eligible to renew your visa in Mexico. 

*TCN Visa Renewals Before deciding to apply at a consular section in Mexico, third country nationals should keep in mind that traveling to the country may require the appropriate Mexican visa from a Mexico’s embassy or consulate before making the trip. Potential applicants should be sure they have a visa, if necessary, and are prepared to wait several days in Mexico while their visa is being processed.

USCIS Increases Period of Stay for TN Canadians and Mexicans

October 27th, 2008

USCIS has increased the maximum period of stay for citizens of Canada and Mexico who work in the US as professionals pursuant to Trade-NAFTA (TN status).  The initial period and any extensions have been increased from one year to three years.

TN nonimmigrant status is for citizens of Mexico and Canada with at least a bachelor’s degree or appropriate professional credentials who work in certain fields pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Such professions include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, attorneys, pharmacists, some scientists and teachers.  The list is far more restrictive than that for the H-1B visa, since the latter is based on the position being a professional or specialty occupation.  This is defined as a position requiring the application of theoretical and practical knowledge that can only be gained through a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in a particular field.

USCIS Announces Rule to Increase TN Stay

May 7th, 2008

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it is publishing a notice to increase the maximum period of admission for Trade-NAFTA (TN) professional workers from Canada or Mexico from one year to three years, the same term of admission for H-1B specialty occupation workers.

The proposed rule will also allow TN nonimmigrants to be granted an extension of stay in increments of up to three years, as opposed to the current maximum of one year.  There is no limitation on the period of stay for TN nonimmigrants and, therefore, they may seek multiple readmissions or extensions, provided their intended professional activity continues and they remain otherwise eligible. 

One of the great advantages of this rule is that TNs will no longer feel compelled to change their status to H-1B when they wish to start the process of applying for legal permanent residency (green card).  Currently, because the green card process is lengthly and usually takes several years, and because the TN is not a dual intent visa, which means that they cannot travel abroad and reenter in TN status if they are far enough along in the green card process, TNs must try to change their status to H-1B when starting the green card process.  Because of the cap on H-1B visas (65,000/20,000 for master’s degree from US), there is no guarantee that the TN will be able to change to H-1B status.  This rule allowing for an extended period of admission will allow many TNs to remain in TN status while the green card is pending without ever having to switch to H-1B status.