The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) integrated key sectors of the United States, Canadian, and Mexican economies. Central to that integration was creating a special visa category that allowed qualified Mexican and Canadian citizens to seek temporary admission into the United States to engage in business activities.
To qualify for a TN visa a foreign national must meet five criteria:
(1) A citizen of Canada or Mexico, which is commonly demonstrated by a birth certificate or passport;
(2) Employed in a profession that qualifies under the regulations, the eligible professions are listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA;
(3) The position in the United States must require a NAFTA professional;
(4) Prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer and
(5) The foreign national must have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
Generally, Canadian nationals are not required to obtain a visa prior to entering the United States, however, Mexican nationals are required to obtain a visa prior to entering the United States. Consequently, Canadian and Mexican nationals have different TN NAFTA visa requirements.