<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Who Qualifies for a TN 1 Visa? (Updated 2022)</span>

If you’re the owner of a Canadian company looking to expand to the US, you might be thinking about sending some of your top employees across the border to oversee the efforts instead of monitoring from afar. Or, perhaps you are a Canadian professional being sent on an assignment to the US branch of your company. You may even be part of an American firm hoping to source and hire top talent, no matter where they live.


It’s likely you’ve already done some research into the various visas available to Canadian professionals working in the US, so you’re aware of the TN 1 Visa. Now that the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMC) Agreement has been active for a couple of years, you might be wondering what has changed in terms of eligibility and other qualifications. Is the TN 1 visa still in place? If so, who qualifies under USMC? The criteria are outlined below.

The TN Program

The TN visa program was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. This trade agreement allowed free trade between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. These types of agreements often include provisions for workers as well.


USMC, which was implemented July 1, 2020, was negotiated to replace the quarter-century-old trade deal. During negotiations, officials indicated they wanted to review which professionals were qualified under the TN program. A lot has changed in the last 25 years, so it was thought that some revisions or even expansions to professional categories might be in order.


The new trade deal, though, incorporates most of NAFTA’s original language. It retains everything in the TN program, and while it did not update or expand professions or categories, it did try to create more opportunity.

Who Qualifies for a TN 1 Visa?

Generally speaking, you must be a citizen of Canada to qualify for Nafta Professional (TN) Nonimmigrant Status. Permanent residents are not eligible to apply for a TN visa. This is a non-immigration visa that allows people to temporarily work in the United States for an American company or foreign employer. Citizens of Mexico normally apply for what’s known as TN 2 visa.


Though this is open to Canadian citizens, there are other qualifications, so not every Canadian citizen will qualify for a TN 1 visa. This is one of the easier visa types to obtain, making it a top choice for those who do meet the criteria.


First, you (or the worker) must meet eligibility requirements for NAFTA Professional (TN) Nonimmigrant Status. To be eligible you will need:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship
  • A pre-arranged position in the US in one of the qualified professions
  • Qualifications for the position including education, certifications, and experience

You Must Have a Job Offer

One of the criterion for getting a TN 1 visa is an active job offer from a company in the US. You can’t apply for the visa, then go look for work in the US. Instead, you’ll need to provide proof of a job offer with your visa application.


Most of the time, the employer can provide this proof. If you’re sending some of your senior management team to oversee expansion efforts, you’re more than likely going to provide them with a letter explaining the job offer, their duties, and why they need to be granted the right to work at your US branch. You can also vouch for their qualifications.


The position that you have arranged will also need to be in one of the qualifying professions listed by NAFTA. A list of the qualifying professions is available online. If your profession isn’t listed, you won’t qualify for the TN 1 visa.

Qualified Professionals Only

The TN program is designed to facilitate the movement of highly trained and talented professionals between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Some educators and engineers are welcome to apply under the provisions of the TN 1 program.


You’ll also need to prove your qualifications in the field you’re applying to. A computer engineer can’t apply for a TN 1 visa as a mechanical engineer. An educator can’t apply as a physicist.


In order to be considered and approved as a NAFTA Professional (TN), you will need proof of your qualifications. Each position will have its own set of requirements and qualifications, so you be sure that you are aware of what is needed prior to application. 

Who Doesn’t Qualify?

The list of who doesn’t qualify for a TN 1 visa is a little lengthier. The criteria for application is quite clear, so it is easy for us to descern who will and won’t qualify. 


  • People who aren’t citizens of Canada can’t apply, this includes permanent residents. 
  • Those who work in areas or have accepted jobs in areas not listed under the terms of the program also don’t qualify. The list of qualifying professions is quite strict. 
  • Those who aren’t qualified to work in these qualifying areas wouldn’t be eligible for a TN 1 visa.
  • Those who don’t already have a job on offer don’t qualify.


If you’re thinking about sending employees to the US or hiring qualified professionals from Canada, then the TN 1 visa program could help you find the talent you need. If you’re looking to continue expanding your company and begin hiring across borders, The Payroll Edge can help.