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USCIS Increases Period of Stay for TN Professional Workers from One Year to Three Years

    Client Alerts
  • October 17, 2008

The Trade-NAFTA (TN) visa allows certain professionals from Mexico and Canada to work in the United States.  Until recently, TN workers were admitted to the US for a period of one year and could apply for one-year extensions thereafter.  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has now increased the initial period of admission to three years.  Similarly, eligible TN professionals now may receive extensions of stay in increments of up to three years. 
The TN visa is available to eligible Mexicans and Canadians who work in certain fields and have at least a bachelor's degree or other appropriate professional credentials.  Qualified professions include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, attorneys, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.  The three-year period of admission now available to TN workers is equal to that of foreign professionals who receive an H-1B visa.  Given that the supply of H-1B visas is unequal to the demand, the TN visa may be a good alternative for some professionals.
The change to a three-year period of admission will benefit US employers by increasing the amount of time TN professionals may work for them before having to seek an extension of status.  For more information on the TN visa program, visit