Trade NAFTA Status (TN)

The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa permits citizens of Canada and Mexico to work temporarily in the United States in certain occupations. At Yale, the most typical use of the TN visa is for salaried employees doing teaching or research. For academic appointments (postdoctoral researcher, instructor, etc…) the basic steps are as follows:

  • The host department at Yale contacts the OISS adviser for that department
  • Once OISS confirms TN eligibility the department sets up an ISD record
  • The department sends the OISS adviser a draft TN support letter (see details below)
  • The final letter is sent to the scholar with instructions
  • The Canadian scholar presents evidence of citizenship, degree (in a field listed on the TN list), the letter, pays $50.00 (Canadians) end enters the U.S.
  • The Mexican scholar must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. embassy, and then enter the U.S.
  • The scholar registers with OISS upon arrival in New Haven

For complete information about the TN requirements for both citizens of Mexico and Canada, click here.

TN status is granted when the scholar enters the U.S. for up to a three year period based on the actual dates of employment. TN status is valid for the time the scholar is employed, up to the expiration of the I-94 record. When the employment is concluded, there is no grace period of additional time to remain in the U.S.

Spouses and dependent children of persons in TN status hold TD status.

TN Letter

The letter (see sample to the right) should contain the following information:

  • State that it is an offer of employment and name the scholar
  • Be addressed to “U.S. Customs and Border Protection”
  • Contain a thorough description of the job duties and dates of employment; from-to not exceed three years and list the salary
  • Ask OISS what the correct NAFTA occupation category is, and include this in the letter
  • Conclude with contact information, work site location address and phone number


TN Extensions

Once the host department has updated ISD and issued a new TN letter to the scholar the scholar can re-enter the U.S. (from Canada) by traveling and repeating steps 4 and 5 above. It is rarely worth the expense of paying for a TN extension within the U.S., but it is possible following the steps below at least 6 months prior to the expiration of the current TN.

Department Materials

  • The department updates ISD
  • The department creates a new TN support letter including the dates of extension (not to exceed 3 years.)
  • The department orders a $460 check request (please refer to the following chart - the fees are the same as H-1B and O-1)
  • Optional: The scholar or department orders a I-907 Premium Processing an additional $1,410 check
  • The department provides a pre-paid Yale e-Global shipping label to one of the offices below

Shipping Addresses

Premium Processing

USCIS Vermont Service Center
Premium Processing Unit
30 Houghton Street
St. Albans, VT 05478
(800) 375-5283

Regular Processing

USCIS Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001
(800) 375-5283

Materials from the Scholar

  • A copy of the current I-94 record
  • Family members must complete Form I-539
  • The filing fee for Form I-539 is $370
  • Current I-94 record for each family member