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TN Employment Visa

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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). It 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.

Departments considering TN status for an employee should check the Schedule of Occupations to determine whether the occupation is allowable for TN status. 


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. For more details, see: Applying for a TN Visa


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 Stanford payroll, meaning that no external/fellowship funding or stipends may be used to support TN postdocs.

Note that TN status is not "dual intent." Admission to the U.S. 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.") H-1 is the preferred status for intending immigrants.