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TN Employee

NAFTA (TN) Status at Stanford 

The TN program is the immigration component of the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, now sometimes referred to as the USMCA or NAFTA 2.0) 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. The TN visa program was unaffected by revisions to NAFTA and its new name.

See a discussion of the TN for Canadian citizens here.

See a discussion of the TN for Mexican citizens here.

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.

The TN Program is "Self Service"

Prospective TN employees apply in real time (at the US consulate for Mexican citizens, and at the border or airport for Canadians.) The program is self-service and largely "hands-free" for host departments and units, requiring only the preparation of a letter, and no institutional expense.  While TN petitions can be filed with Citizenship and Immigration Services in Vermont, this is redundant, and 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"; technically, admission is contingent on (among other things) the presumption that the applicant 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.") In those cases, H-1 or O-1 is indicated.

Who Is  Eligible for TN Status? 

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:

  1. Through a mail-in application process in the U.S.
  2. Applying for a TN Visa at the port of entry