TN-2/TD: NAFTA Worker – Mexico
The 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico created a special TN nonimmigrant classification. The TN-2 nonimmigrant classification was created for and applies exclusively to Mexican citizens who are temporarily entering the U.S. to engage in “business activities at a professional level.” Specifically, the TN-2 classification is available only to Mexican citizens who intend to work in the U.S. in certain pre-designated professions. The NAFTA list of approved professions includes, but is not limited to, accountants, engineers, attorneys, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. To view the complete list of qualifying TN professions click here: NAFTA Appendix.
One of the primary benefits of the TN-2 classification is the rapid processing time. An application for a TN-2 visa can be made directly with the U.S. embassy or consulate. The sponsoring employer does not have to first file a separate petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as is required for other nonimmigrant classifications, such as H-1B and L-1. Other significant benefits of the TN-2 classification are that it does not have an annual cap and there is no limitation on how long a person can remain in the U.S. in TN-2 status. An indefinite number of TN-2 classifications may be issued in any given year. TN-2 status can be approved for an initial three-year period, and may be extended in three year increments for an indefinite period of time. One in TN status, however, must maintain a foreign residence abroad and intend to return to the foreign residence at the end of the authorized period of stay. A prolonged stay in the U.S. in TN-2 status may give rise to a presumption that the individual intends to remain in the U.S. as an intending “immigrant” and could lead to the denial of future applications for TN-2 extensions of stay. Spouses and children of TN-2 workers are eligible to obtain TD (‘Trade Dependent”) visas in order to accompany the principal TN-2 status holder for the duration of the stay in the U.S. TD status holders are not authorized to work in the U.S. but spouses in TD status, if eligible, may independently qualify for TN-2 status or another nonimmigrant visa status.