The TN NAFTA visa is meant for professional workers from Mexico and Canada. This visa allows Mexican citizens to come to the U.S. and work for at a professional job that meets NAFTA requirements. To learn more about those requirements, see our past articles.
You must have a TN NAFTA visa before entering the U.S.
The process of applying involves proving that your employment is on par with NAFTA requirements. Required documents are: Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application, $140), a valid passport, a 2×2 photo of you, and a letter or statement from your boss or future employer in the U.S. This letter should outline the following information: facts about your profession (stating that the profession requires someone with professional ability), evidence that you will be hired (how the employer will pay your salary, full time or part time), and a detailed statement, letter, or contract that explains the business activities that your employer will provide.
This letter or contract will explain why you are entering the U.S. and your new job with the U.S. employer. The employer should also describe how long you plan to stay in the U.S. for, as well as your educational background and qualifications that show your status as a professional worker. Your employer must also explain that he or she complies with state law and DHS regulations that concern the business or place of employment. The employer should explain how he or she is going to pay your salary.
If you choose to bring your family with you, they will need to submit paperwork as well. Your spouse and any children under the age of 21 can join you in the United States. First and foremost, they must prove their relationship to you. They must also provide proof of their citizenship in Mexico and copies of your entry documents (in other words, the family must show that the TN NAFTA visa holder is obeying legal requirements). Also, the family does not have to have Mexican citizenship. They can be citizens of another country.
Your family will be allowed to study but not work. If you are already in the United States and want your family to join you, they will need copies of your I-94 papers (Arrival-Departure Record) to show that you are still maintaining your status.
Basically, all of this means that you must establish that the job you will be employed for is a legitimate one that belongs to a NAFTA list category. You have to show that your intended stay is only temporary (show that you have a stable home in Mexico). Your employer has to demonstrate that you, the applicant, meet all the minimum degree requirements for the job you are going to take. Degrees, diplomas, educational certificates, and professional licenses or membership to professional organizations are all examples of your educational status.
You should translate documents that are written in Spanish. And include validation of your documents by a credible outside source – there are some companies that offer professional validation of documents. You may need to contact one of these agencies.
Also show your work experience or business records if you were self-employed. All of these documents will help demonstrate that you are coming to the U.S. to work in a special field. One note: you do NOT need to prove that you are licensed to work in a certain field.
Every state has different laws relating to this issue. If you want to learn more, contact Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim. He has expertise in immigration law and can help you determine if the NAFTA Visa is the right type of visa for you.