The TN program is the immigration component of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was negotiated for the purpose of facilitating the flow of goods and services between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Individual workers in certain occupations are included in this agreement, which allows professionals to practice their disciplines in the other two countries.
It is recommended that departments considering TN status for an employee check the Schedule of Occupations to determine whether the occupation is allowable for TN status.
Departments should also bear in mind that the use of TN status by employees who cross the border to transact their acquisition and extension of TN status is largely "hands-free" for host departments, requiring only the preparation of a letter. If employees decide at a future point to ask their department to file an extension of stay for them with Citizenship and Immigration Services, this will entail as much expense of resources—staff time, a Workflow transaction, creation of a dossier of evidence, and payment of fees—as an H-1.
Users should note that TN status is not "dual intent," and to be admitted as a TN employee, the applicant must be able to establish that he/she plans to return to the home country at some point in the future. TN status is not compatible with tenure-track faculty appointments or plans to immigrate to the U.S. (i.e., become a "permanent resident" and hold a "green card.")
Any current or prospective Stanford employee who is a Canadian or Mexican citizen, and whose area of employment is on the Schedule of Occupations may use the TN program. Stanford requires that TN workers, like H-1 and O-1 employees, be on payroll, meaning that no external/fellowship funding or stipends may be used to support TN postdocs.
A Note about Physicians: The Schedule includes "Physician" among the professions that may be admitted under the terms of the Agreement. However, they are limited to teaching and/or research. Unlike the H-1 visa, which allows for physicians to perform limited patient care in the context of teaching and research, no patient care whatsoever is permitted of physicians in TN status.
There are two ways that employees can get a TN Visa: