Important Note: Only Human Resources is authorized to sign USCIS TN forms on behalf of UH. Departments interested in sponsoring employees for TN status should contact the Immigration Specialist for guidance.
What is TN Status? Who qualifies?
The TN (Treaty NAFTA) category was developed as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to facilitate the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens to the United States to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis.
Only occupations specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of the NAFTA Treaty can serve as the basis for TN employment. Appendix 1603.D.1 also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation. Commonly sponsored positions for TN status include: Teachers, Scientists, Research Assistants, Dentists, Pharmacists and Physicians (only incidental patient care allowed). If the position requires licensure, applicants must have the license when applying for TN status.
Occupations not listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 are not eligible for TN sponsorship
To be eligible for TN status, a potential employee must:
- Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico. Landed immigrants and permanent residents of Canada and Mexico do not qualify.
- Be applying for a position listed on the TN Occupations List
- Possess the minimum qualifications for that position, as listed on the TN Occupations List
- Have plans for a temporary stay. Longer-term positions (such as tenure-track faculty positions) are not appropriate for TN status.
Paths to obtain TN authorization
As TN is an employer-sponsored status, the hiring college/department is responsible for starting the TN process by notifying the Immigration Specialist of their interest in a TN candidate and submitting a completed Request to Petition for TN form (below). The Immigration Specialist will evaluate the candidate and position for TN sponsorship eligibility, and will only petition for qualified personnel whom the college/department wishes to employ. The hiring unit must initiate this process on behalf of new and continuing personnel.
There are two paths to TN status for both new and existing employees:
(1) Via Travel - TN Border or Consular Application: The Immigration Specialist can assist your department in preparing the support letter for your employee to present to CBP when requesting TN status or to the Consulate/Embassy to obtain a TN visa stamp (not applicable for Canadian passport holders). UH does not prepare the full TN packet for your employee to carry to border application or consular application but may provide guidance.
This method incurs no charge to the college/department and is the fastest way to obtain TN status. The employee will be responsible for an application fee at the border of approximately $50, and any fees associated with consular visa stamping (if needed).(2) Petition to USCIS - TN Change of Status, Change of Employer, Extension of Status, or Amendment: If the candidate is currently in the U.S. and unable to travel, a full TN application can be prepared by the Immigration Specialist to be filed with USCIS. The UH department is responsible for paying the $460 application fee, and may also wish to pay the additional $2,500 Premium Processing fee to expedite USCIS service (approximately 4 months). Please note that much of the processing time is beyond the control of the Immigration Specialist and processing times are subject to change.
The hiring department is responsible for completing, signing, and submitting the following to the Immigration Specialist:
1. Copy of offer letter and UH Job Posting (if any)
3. Employee Checklist-Questionnaire (for the TN worker) with copies of pertinent documents including passport ID page and educational credentials.
For petitions filed with USCIS, your UH Department is responsible for payment of TN application fee(s), including the premium processing fee if employment of the worker in TN status is required to obtain the requested start date.
Keep in mind the following when submitting the vouchers:
- The vendor number is 0000051939.
- Comment on the voucher that the check(s) should be sent to your Department and not directly to the USCIS.
- Deliver checks to the Immigration Specialist, Office of the General Counsel, Mail Code: 2028.
- Submit Request Materials to the Immigration Specialist as soon as they are complete. Do not wait until checks are issued to initiate the TN request.