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TN Visa

What is TN status?


TN (Trade NAFTA) status is a nonimmigrant employment visa which allows Canadian and Mexican citizens who work in specific professional occupations to work in the United States. The arrangement is open to citizens from these countries under the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, which created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.


Entering on TN authorization allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to stay and work in the United States, as long as their U.S. job offer falls under a list of NAFTA professions. TN status is valid for up to three years, and is indefinitely renewable.


What do I need to be eligible for the TN visa?


In order to be eligible for TN status, you will need:

  • Proof of your Canadian or Mexican citizenship, such as a passport
  • A pre-arranged full-time or part-time job in the United States with a U.S. employer, or a foreign employer with a U.S. entity
  • Qualifications to practice, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree


Your job should also fall under the list of 60 NAFTA professions. Examples of NAFTA professions include engineer, lawyer, social worker, and dentist.


How do I apply for TN status?


If you are a Canadian citizen, you can either:

  • Apply directly at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry when entering the U.S. or
  • Have your employer submit the TN application along with Form I-129 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and then seek entry once approved at a U.S. port of entry


If you are a Mexican citizen, you will need to submit the paperwork to a U.S. embassy or consulate along with Form DS-160, attend an interview, receive a visa number, and then seek entry at a U.S. port of entry.


What will I need to apply for TN status?


The process for applying for TN authorization for Canadian and Mexican citizens is different, but the requirements are similar. For every TN application, you will need:

  • A TN support letter from your employer summarizing your job, the NAFTA profession chosen, your qualifications, and other basic information (salary, length of employment, etc.)
  • Proof of your qualifications for the role, such as transcripts or diplomas. Where possible, these should be the original copy
  • Your application fee


If you are Canadian, your employer can also file Form I-129 (“Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker”) in addition to the core TN application on your behalf. Once this is approved, you can enter the United States with your passport and the approval notice from USCIS. If you are Mexican, you will need to file Form DS-160 (“Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application”) in addition to the core TN application to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.


For both Canadians and Mexicans on a nonimmigrant status in the U.S., you can use Form I-129 to adjust your status to TN, or to reapply for TN for renewals or new employment.


I am a permanent resident of Canada or Mexico. Can I enter the United States through the TN visa?


No, only citizens of Canada or Mexico in specialty occupations may enter and work in the United States under TN authorization. Is the TN visa employer-specific? What if I want to change employers while on a TN visa? You can only work in the U.S. for the employer named on your TN visa. If you’d like to work for someone else or change companies, you will need to re-apply for a visa.


Can TN visa holders apply for a green card?


Unlike other temporary work visas, the TN visa is not a “dual-intent” visa. This means that when you enter the U.S., you’re signalling that you won’t try to permanently move to the U.S..


Of course, there may be circumstances where you decide to marry a U.S. citizen or green card holder while you are in the U.S., and are therefore eligible for a green card. If this happens, you may be able to stay in the U.S. and adjust your status.


If you’re interested in changing your status from a TN visa to a marriage green card, Boundless can help you through the process. Learn more or see if you’re eligible now!


Which visa should I get: a TN visa or the H-1B visa?


Both the TN visas and H-1B visas can be great options for work authorization in the U.S.. For most people, the TN visa can be a quick, cost-effective option, however it is only available to Canadian and Mexican citizens (not permanent-residents), and to be eligible, your profession must be one of those on the list of TN-qualifying specialty occupations. The H-1B visa, on the other hand, is open to citizens of any country and can be used for any occupation that requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.


What is the grace period after I leave my job on a TN visa?


If you leave your job and your TN visa is still valid, you have a grace period of 60 days to find another employer, change your status or prepare to leave the U.S..


For additional information and resources, please visit:

H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa Eligibility


In order to be eligible for the H-1B visa, you will need:

  • A job offer from a U.S. employer for a role that requires specialty knowledge
  • Proof of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in that field
  • Your employer must show that there is a lack of qualified U.S. applicants for the role


Understanding The H-1B Visa Cap


Before you can enter the United States under the H-1B classification and begin work, you may need to register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and be selected to apply.


Because there is a lot of demand for this visa, there is a cap on the number of visas that can be issued each year. Currently, the cap is at 65,000 visas per fiscal year. If you have a master’s degree from a U.S. institution, then you’re in luck: there are an extra 20,000 visas available for those who have a master’s degree or higher. If the employer who is sponsoring you is an institution of higher education, a nonprofit organization connected to an institute of higher education, or a government research organization, then the visa cap does not apply.


If you are hoping to file for an H-1B visa and your occupation is subject to the cap, then you will need to register with USCIS electronically to enter a lottery. To do this, you will need to create an online account with USCIS. If you already have a USCIS account, then you will still need to create a separate account for the registration process.


Then, you will need to pay a registration fee and fill in basic information about the company who is sponsoring you, as well as a few details about yourself. Alternatively, an attorney or representative can create an account and register on your behalf.


The registration period only runs for 14 days each year. If you don’t register but your occupation is not exempt from the cap, you will not be able to apply for the H-1B visa.


Once you have registered, you will be able to see your status in your USCIS account. If an attorney or a representative has filed for you, they will be able to see your status in their account.


Once the registration period has finished, USCIS will let you know if you have been selected. Your registration must be selected if you want to apply for an H-1B visa, unless you are eligible for an exemption. If you are not selected, USCIS will let you or your representative know once the H-1B cap has been reached that year.


The H-1B Visa Process


Once you have been selected to apply for the H-1B visa, your employer can begin the process by filing a petition on your behalf.


To do this, your employer will need to submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL) for Certification. The purpose of the LCA is to confirm that your employer will pay you the same wage as other similarly qualified workers in the same geographic area, and that your working conditions will not affect other their employees.


Once the LCA has been certified by the DOL, your employer will have to complete Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and file both the LCA and the I-129 to USCIS, along with any fees and additional documentation. These other documents may include evidence of your education, any training certificates or professional membership documents if relevant, your resume, a confirmation letter of employment, a letter of support, and any necessary fees.


If your Form I-129 is approved, then there are two options for you, depending on whether you are in the United States already or not.


If you are within the United States on a different visa category, you must wait until your H-1B visa status becomes active in order for you to start working.


If you are outside the United States, then you will need to apply for consular processing. To do this, you will need to complete Form DS-160, which will take around 90 minutes to fill in. You will also need to pay the application fee, and schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate near you.


Once you have arranged an interview, you will need to bring documents such as:

  • Your passport. This should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended date of entry to the United States
  • A printout of the confirmation page from your Form DS-160.
  • A copy of your approved I-129 petition and your I-797 approval.
  • Receipts showing you have paid your application fees.
  • A passport-sized photo of you that follows U.S. State Department requirements.


During your interview, you may be asked questions about yourself, the job, your experience, the employer and your travel history.


How long will I be able to stay and work in the U.S. on an H-1B visa?


The H-1B visa is valid for three years, and can be extended for up to six years.


Can I transition from the H-1B visa to a green card?


The H-1B visa is a dual-intent visa, which means that yes, you can apply for a green card. However, there may be lengthy delays. This means that any children who moved with you may “age out” of their visa status, which is tied to your H-1B visa. Under the current system, if they turn 21 before your green card is approved, they will need to apply for another visa to stay, such as a student visa. The Biden administration may remove this, and also make it easier for dependents of H-1B visa holders to gain work authorization.


If you’re planning to transition from an H-1B visa to a family or marriage green card, Boundless can help you understand what to expect. Learn more about how Boundless can help you make the switch smoothly.


When can I start filing my H-1B visa application?


If your H-1B visa is subject to the cap, you will need to register online first. You should keep in mind that being selected in the lottery allows you to apply for a visa for the following financial year.


If you are selected, you and your employer can petition for a H-1B visa on your behalf. You can expect to have around 90 days to apply for your visa, but the filing period and location will be on your H-1B Registration Selection Notice from USCIS. You can apply for your visa up to six months before your visa start date.


Where do I file my H1-B visa application?


If your H-1B visa is under the cap and you have been selected to apply for a visa, your selection notice will let you know which USCIS address you can file your application at. If the H1-B visa cap does not apply to you, for example, if you are being employed by an institute of higher education, then you can file your application at the USCIS California service center.


Who can sponsor the H-1B visa?


Any U.S.-based employer can sponsor the H-1B visa and register to file a petition on your behalf.


Can I apply for a H-1B visa if I don’t have a job first?


Because the H-1B visa is an employment-based visa and you will need your employer to file certain forms for you, you will need a job offer before you are eligible to apply for the H-1B visa.


For additional information and resources, please visit:


If you have any questions on the information outlined on this page, please email

J‐1 Host Company Eligibility Requirements

In order for international interns to train in the U.S., they must have the appropriate training visa, and Cultural Vistas is a U.S. Department of State designated sponsor for the J‐1 Intern and Trainee visa. As part of the visa application process for Cultural Vistas’ Train USA Program, please ensure your company meets the following eligibility requirements:


  • Host Company intends to utilize the J‐1 visa solely to provide a cultural and career learning experience for participants and NOT for employment purposes.
  • Host Company must offer participants robust and meaningful training opportunities that are in line with the participant’s educational and professional experience.
  • Internship or training program must be at least 32 hours per week. No more than 20% of the participant’s time can be spent on unskilled or clerical tasks.
  • Host Company must have sufficient resources and knowledgeable staff available to conduct the training, and willingness and capacity to mentor an international participant.
  • Host Company can present proof of workers’ compensation or proof of exemption.
  • Host Company must provide continuous on‐site supervision of participants and their program activities and provide feedback to facilitate the participant’s development.
  • Host Company must have been incorporated and in operation for at least one year.
  • The company must have a minimum of 5 full‐time staff at the company and at the training site. Host Company ratio of J‐1 participants to employees at the training location should not exceed 10%. Companies that have 10 or less full‐time employees may only host one J‐1 participant at a time.
    • (Note: We will not be able to count contractors, part‐time employees, remote employees, or employees that are frequently off‐site (i.e. outside sales) towards the minimum requirement)
  • Host Company that has assisted its participants in obtaining a change of visa status in the past may not be eligible for sponsorship in the future.
  • All new host companies are subject to a $300 new host company fee. All companies who have either never worked with Cultural Vistas or who have not yet completed a successful training program through our organization within the past three (3) years will be required to pay a registration fee. (A successful program is defined as a program during which both the mid‐term and final evaluations were completed as required). This fee covers the research Cultural Vistas does to ensure your company is reputable; to make certain your company meets the standards that are outlined by U.S. Department of State for all J‐1 Visa host companies; and to guarantee that you understand your responsibilities as a U.S. host company to a J‐1 Visa holder (this includes training, supervision, evaluations to be completed by trainee and supervisor, etc). This fee is non‐refundable and cannot be paid by the participant.


Programs in these areas are not eligible for sponsorship as Interns or Trainees:

  • Flight training.
  • Performing arts including dance instructors.
  • Positions involving more than 20% clerical activity.
  • Positions of unskilled labor.
  • Positions that receive tips as a part of compensation.
  • Positions involving clinical or medical patient care or contact including dentistry, child/elder care, veterinary medicine, doctors, nurses, psychological therapy, cosmetology, sports coaching or physical therapy, speech therapy or social work. This includes pre‐schools and day care centers.
  • Programs involving the use of staffing agencies or unauthorized recruiters.
  • Programs at economy hotels, fast food restaurants, bakeries, home offices or retail sites.
  • Programs at camps or residential facilities.
  • Programs in the field of construction, carpentry, electricians, plumbers or similar in‐home installation services or auto body shops.


A site visit will be necessary if the company has fewer than 25 employees and makes less than 3 million in annual revenue. If a company has fewer than 25 employees but at least 3 million in annual revenue – and can provide proof of this – a site visit may not be necessary. Please note, however, that we may require the site visit as a part of the vetting procedures in some instances, based on the information provided on the application.


For more information on J‐1 Host Company Eligibility Requirements, please visit Cultural Vistas.


If interested in partnering with Career Services for J-1 Visa support through Cultural Vistas, please fill out this Student Application for J-1 Cultural Vistas Support, including submitting copy of offer letter (upload within the form). Career Services will be in contact with 48-72hours upon submission. If it’s been 72 hours, please inquire with Timing Considerations: For Canadian citizens: recommend applying 2+ months before the program start date. For non-Canadian citizens: recommend 3+ months before the program start date. If it is less than these months, recommend expediting.


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