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TN: Coming to the U.S.

Canadian professionals are admitted into the U.S. in TN-1 status. Mexican professionals are admitted into the U.S. in TN-2 status. Admission procedures for Mexican citizens differ substantially from those for Canadians.

Application for Initial Admission in TN Status – Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens should apply for TN admission at a designated Port of Entry or preclearance facility on this list, during the hours listed. Application at other ports of entry, or outside of the listed hours, may result in increased scrutiny and/or longer processing times. Applicants for TN admission will always be routed through “secondary inspection” for processing, and should be prepared to wait for an officer to become available. Applicants will have to pay a $56 TN fee if their application is successful.

Application for Initial Admission in TN Status – Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens must first apply for a TN visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate (usually in Mexico) before they can enter the U.S. in TN status. See the Department of State website for more detailed instructions on the TN visa application process, including applicable fees paid to the Department of State. Once the TN visa stamp is issued, the applicants can enter the U.S. at the port of entry/airport of their choice.

Required Documents for TN Applications/Reentry

Applicants should carry the following documents when applying for a TN visa stamp at a consulate and when entering or reentering the U.S. in TN status:

  • Valid Canadian or Mexican passport
  • Original diplomas, academic transcripts, and professional license (if required). Submit originals for verification purposes; they will be returned.
  • Original, signed letter from the U.S. employer (UW hiring department). For staff positions, this letter should be obtained from UW HR; for academic personnel positions, your department may request a template and other support from ISO.
    • Addressed to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
    • Identifies the TN profession in which you will be working
    • Detailed description of job responsibilities
    • Salary
    • Anticipated length of stay
    • Job’s minimum degree and experience requirements
    • Minimum requirements for the TN profession
    • Description of how you qualify to perform the job
  • Some healthcare professionals will also need a Visa Screen.

What to Expect at the Port of Entry

  • Plan to enter the U.S. in TN status no more than 10 days prior to the employment start date indicated in the employer’s letter. You will not be admitted if you arrive earlier.
  • Always carry your documents and be prepared to present them to an immigration officer.
  • Clearly explain to the immigration officer that you are applying to enter the U.S. in TN status.
  • Be prepared to describe in detail the job offer as described in the letter from your UW department, including job duties, and to provide the address where you will live in the U.S.
  • The officer will take your fingerprints and a photograph and ask about your reason for coming to the U.S.
  • If the officer has questions about your affiliation with the UW, suggest that he or she contact your UW department or International Scholars Operations (ISO).

The U.S. immigration officer will stamp your passport indicating your class of admission (TN) and duration of status. The officer will also issue a Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. If you enter the U.S. at a border crossing, you will receive a paper I-94 card; otherwise you will receive only an entry stamp and will have to access your electronic I-94 card using the internet. Be sure that your I-94 record indicates “TN” status and reflects the validity dates requested in the employer’s letter. The I-94 is evidence of your eligibility to work in the U.S.