The TN classification is available to Canadian and Mexican citizens who seek to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis to work in a professional-level job under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The procedures for Canadian and Mexican citizens are similar. However, Mexican citizens must apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate prior to entering the U.S. in TN status.

Upon request by a UW department, International Scholars Operations may agree to file a petition for certain academic personnel in a full-time position. The job must be a profession included in the NAFTA Professional Job Series List and the beneficiary must hold at least a baccalaureate degree unless an alternative credential is specified. Physicians with patient care responsibilities are ineligible for TN Status. (A visa screen is additionally required for certain healthcare professionals.)

TN status may be requested for up to three years, and may be renewed in three-year increments. Although the regulations do not limit the number of years that the TN may be used, TN is a nonimmigrant status. The beneficiary must establish to the satisfaction of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the employment opportunity is both temporary and short-term. If the job is an academic appointment eligible for UW sponsored Permanent Residence, the H-1B is a more suitable visa alternative.


Change in Employment Status


Upon termination from the UW the TN beneficiary is expected to depart the US immediately. A grace period of up to 60 days may be available from the Department of Homeland Security, but is not automatic or guaranteed. If the TN worker is interested in this grace period, they should contact a private immigration attorney to discuss.

Change of Title and/or Academic Department

The TN classification is “job-specific” and cannot generally be “transferred” to another job or department on campus. See: How to sponsor an initial TN

Change of Employer or Multiple Employers

It is possible for a TN to change employers or even work with multiple employers simultaneously. However, all employment must be authorized in advance by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

On-Leave Status

A TN maintains lawful visa status in the US only when maintaining paid employment. Before approving an unpaid leave for an employee in TN status, contact International Scholars Operations (ISO).

Outside Professional Activities

UW employees in TN status may have occasion to give lectures at other institutions or conferences. They cannot receive honorarium or other monetary or material gain for such activities, although reimbursement for travel and reasonable expenses is allowed.