ATN visa is designed to allow certain professionals from Canada and Mexico – NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States.

This article will explain how teachers working in colleges or universities from Canada and Mexico can apply for TN nonimmigrant visas.

The complete list of NAFTA professions you can find here.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens can temporarily stay and engage professionally in various jobs in the United States. Teaching is one of the available occupations listed in the NAFTA list since 1994.

The exceptional career possibilities in the United States have always made teaching assignments extremely attractive to foreign teachers. For teachers coming from Canada or Mexican, the TN visa offers a more straightforward way to go and work as a teacher in the United States. Teachers working in College or University are eligible to seek admission as TN visa holders. As you can conclude, the TN visa classification is not available to primary and secondary school teachers.

The TN visa category permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to initially seek temporary entry into the United States to work at one of the colleges or universities for up to three years.

To qualify for TN visa status as a College/University Teacher, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) degree; or
  • Licenciatura Degree.

Referring to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), postsecondary teachers’ job duties are to instruct students in a wide variety of academic and technical subjects beyond the high school level. There is no guidance on the type of degrees or majors suitable for a particular TN occupational category under regulations governing TN visa status. We may lead you to publications such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Additional requirements that TN nonimmigrants have to submit are:

1. Proof of Mexican or Canadian citizenship (passport);
2. Proof of the job offer written as the employer’s letter of support, with all job details;
3. Proof that a nonimmigrant does not intend to stay in the U.S. after the TN visa expires.

As you could see, TN visa regulations state the TN visa classification for teachers only permits teaching at the postsecondary level. If you intend to come to the United States to teach at the elementary or secondary level, learn about the H-1B visa or J-1 visa.

Bear in mind that, due to reciprocity restrictions, Mexican nationals can only obtain TN visas in 1-year increments.

If you intend to bring your spouse and children under the age of 21 with you to the United States, you should also know that they, as dependents, may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status and that they do not have to be citizens of Canada or Mexico. Still, if they are granted TD status, they won’t be allowed to work while in the United States, but they can study.

How to seek admission as a TN nonimmigrant?

Canadian citizens can apply with all required documentation to the officer of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the U.S. Port of Entry since they are not required to obtain a visa first. It is also possible to apply at a pre-flight inspection or an airport after arriving in the United States.

On the other hand, Mexican citizens should apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. After the TN visa is approved, they can seek admission at the U.S. Port of Entry.

Both Canadian and Mexican citizens can file the online I-129 petition with USCIS.

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