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A nonimmigrant in TN status is a Canadian or Mexican citizen (not a landed immigrant) who has been admitted on a temporary basis to engage in business on a professional level. These activities have been determined to require at least a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status of a professional. (See list below of “USCIS Definitions of Business Activities at a Professional Level” admissible under the NAFTA agreement.)

A person entering the U.S. with this status can apply for a length of stay for up to three years. No maximum limit on the number of extensions has been established under the provisions of the NAFTA agreement. Dependents of a person holding TN status will request TD status. TD status does not allow work authorization.

Some basic information is summarized below. For more detailed information, please visit the Department of State website:


Procedure to Hire a TN

  • The UIC academic department should issue a letter to the visitor including the information: (A sample letter is provided below.)
    • business activity in which to be engaged
    • anticipated length of stay
    • salary
    • statement regarding the degree and licensing requirements for the position
    • mention of the application fee to be paid at the port of entry or time of application for TN status
  • If the applicant is a Mexican citizen he or she must take this letter and additional information to a U.S. Consulate in Mexico in order to apply for a TN entry visa. If the applicant is Canadian, he or she will not need to apply for an entry visa.
  • At the port-of-entry the applicant should present the following:
    • Evidence of citizenship
    • TN visa, if Mexican
    • Copies of diplomas, degrees, or transcripts (to demonstrate that educational requirements are met)
    • Letter from hiring department (see sample below)
    • $50 application fee
    • Applicant must be otherwise admissible under current immigration law.
  • Once the individual enters the U.S. in TN status, he or she must check-in with OIS. He or she should bring their I-94 (card or printout), passport, and a copy of the letter used to apply for TN status. Check-ins for TN may be done at any time. There is no need to meet with an advisor. Alternately, the documents may be scanned to for a “virtual check-in.”
  • It is possible to apply for an extension of TN status. This should be done before the expiry of their current I-94. One may choose to travel and reenter the U.S. (reapplying at the port-of-entry), or the process may be completed in our office and they may remain present in the U.S. until a USCIS decision is issued. If the latter option is chosen, the department must complete a TN Request Form and submit the required documents and fees. Contact our office for a copy of this form.


Sample Academic Department Letter

UIC Department Letterhead


Dear (Name of Visitor):

I am pleased to offer you a (title, ex: University teaching) position in (name of the department) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Your title will be (title) and you will earn an annual salary of ($). I anticipate that the position will be for (x) year(s) (maximum of three), from (dates) although it can be renewed in the future.

In this position, you will (duties, ex: teach graduate and undergraduate courses for the department). In addition, you will continue your outstanding research in the field leading to publications, conference presentations and external grant funding. You are also expected to participate in departmental and university committees as assigned.

You must obtain TN status before commencing work at the University. Mexican citizens must obtain a TN visa from a U.S. consulate. Canadian citizens do not require a visa. In order to obtain TN status you must present this letter at the port-of-entry along with evidence of your Canadian/Mexican citizenship, TN visa if Mexican, and proof of having obtained (degree required).

You qualify for TN status based on the fact that this is a temporary position, that you are a Canadian/Mexican citizen, and that this position requires a degree which you possess. This position is classified as a (title, ex: University teacher) for NAFTA (TN) purposes. Once you arrive in the U.S., please visit UIC’s Office of International Services (OIS) between 2:00-3:00 p.m. on Mondays or Thursdays to complete the required paperwork. Please bring your arrival/departure information (paper I-94 card or electronic printout from, proof of Canadian/Mexican citizenship and this letter.

We look forward to working with you in the near future.

Department Head



USCIS Definitions of Business Activities at a Professional Level

These are the acceptable positions in which a TN may work. Often the professions listed below will have a different academic title at the university. Both names should be mentioned in the TN letter (above).


  • Accountant–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.
  • Architect–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license. 2/
  • Computer Systems Analyst–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree;or Post-Secondary Diploma 3/ or Post Secondary Certificate 4/and three years’ experience.
  • Disaster relief insurance claims adjuster (claims adjuster employed by an insurance company located in the territory of a Party, or an independent claims adjuster)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
  • Economist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Engineer–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license
  • Forester–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license
  • Graphic Designer–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate and three years experience.
  • Hotel Manager–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree in hotel/restaurant management; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate in hotel/restaurant management and three years experience in hotel/restaurant management.
  • Industrial Designer–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
  • Interior Designer–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
  • Land Surveyor–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or state/provincial/federal license.
  • Landscape Architect–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec)–L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., or Licenciatura degree (five years); or membership in a state/provincial bar.
  • Librarian–M.L.S., or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree was a prerequisite).
  • Management Consultant–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant, or five years experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement.
  • Mathematician (including Statistician)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Range Manager/Range Conservationist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Scientific Technician/Technologist 5/–Possession of (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research.
  • Social Worker–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Technical Publications Writer–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree, or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
  • Urban Planner (including Geographer)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Vocational Counselor–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree


  • Dentist–D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia or Doctor en Cirugia Dental or state/provincial license.
  • Dietitian–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)/Medical Technologist (Mexico and the United States) 6/– Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
  • Nutritionist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Occupational Therapist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree;or state/provincial license.
  • Pharmacist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Physician (teaching or research only)–M.D. Doctor en Medicina; or state/provincial license.
  • Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Psychologist–state/provincial license; or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Recreational Therapist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Registered nurse–state/provincial license or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Veterinarian–D.V.M., D.M.V., or Doctor en Veterinaria; or state/provincial license.


  • Agriculturist (including Agronomist)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Animal Breeder–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Animal Scientist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Apiculturist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Astronomer–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Biochemist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Biologist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Chemist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Dairy Scientist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Entomologist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Epidemiologist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Geneticist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Geochemist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Geologist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico and the United States)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Horticulturist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Meteorologist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Pharmacologist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada)–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Plant Breeder–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Poultry Scientist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Soil Scientist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Zoologist–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.


  • College–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Seminary–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • University–Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.