TN (NAFTA Professionals)

Temporary Employment for Citizens of Mexico or Canada

Established in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Part of NAFTA allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to be admitted into the U.S. on a temporary basis under the TN NAFTA Professional visa.

At UCSB, a TN NAFTA Professional visa can be used for Canadian or Mexican citizens for temporary part- or full-time employment in specific professions, such as accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. The TN visa is employment based and specific to the job. If the job changes, the visa status must be changed as well.

New Applicants: OISS can help you determine if an applicant is eligible for the TN visa, which is both employer and job specific. Applicants must prove that they satisfy the minimum qualifications for the intended profession (such as a professional degree or license for the professions listed here) prior to applying for TN non-immigrant classification.

If a degree is required for the position, the US Customs & Immigration Services (USCIS) now requires that degrees conferred by institutions outside of the United States be evaluated by a third-party service. The following are two commonly used professional evaluation services,  which are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES):

Additional NACES members can be viewed at:

Immediate family members (the spouse and children under the age of 21) may accompany the TN principal and be admitted to the U.S. as TD-Dependents.

 Visitors with Current TN Status:

  • Adding or Transferring Jobs: A TN NAFTA Professional who wishes to work concurrently in a secondary job position or transfer their existing TN authorization to begin employment at UCSB must have their TN petition request approved by U.S. immigration before the start date of employment at UCSB.
  • Job Changes: If there are to be any changes in the job position, such as job duties or work hours, OISS must notify U.S. immigration in advance. Therefore, the UCSB Employing Department must notify OISS prior to any changes in the job position to initiate the TN amendment request process. Contact the OISS Scholar Advisor if you are unsure.

Applying for TN Status

The process of applying for TN status is different depending on where the application is completed and (if applying from outside the U.S.) the nationality of the applicant.

Please contact the OISS Scholar Advisor at (805) 893-2211 or for questions or information regarding the TN non-immigrant visa and petition process.