Did the TN Visa Change in the Transition from NAFTA to USMCA?

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Following diplomatic negotiations dating back to 1990, the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in their respective capitals on December 17, 1992. President Clinton signed it into law on December 8, 1993, and the agreement went into effect on January 1, 1994. NAFTA lowered the prices of many goods, boosted GDPs, improved diplomatic relations, increased exports and established the TN visa. The TN visa is a special nonimmigrant employment visa available to only Mexican and Canadian citizens. The Trump Administration made drastic changes to NAFTA, including renaming it the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which took effect on July 1, 2020. To learn if the TN visa was one of those drastic changes in the transition from NAFTA to USMCA, please read on, then contact a lawyer experienced in work visas today.

Did the transition from NAFTA to USMCA alter the TN visa?

While the trade deal underwent serious changes, the provisions that provide for the temporary entry of professionals to work in the United States, currently known as the TN (Trade NAFTA) visa category, remain the same as they were in NAFTA.

Are there any downsides to the status quo for TN visas?

Even though the USMCA overhauled the overlying trade deal so that it reflects the twenty-first century, the TN visa remains the same as it was back in 1992. That means that the USMCA created no new professional visas. Canada’s negotiating team had hoped to modernize and expand the list of professions currently eligible for the special class of temporary work visas created under NAFTA, but that did not come to pass.

However, the status quo need not impact those who want to work between country lines, such as:

  • Businesspeople
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Truck drivers
  • Salespeople
  • Bloggers
  • Travelers

Under the USMCA, is it now easier or harder to obtain a TN visa?

As you may have gleaned from the preceding sections, the difficulty in obtaining a TN visa has not substantially changed. Furthermore, in contrast to the process of obtaining other work visas, such as an H-1B visa or an L-1 visa, getting a TN visa is rather easy. Indeed, in many cases, an applicant may obtain a TN visa the same day at a qualifying port of entry. The difficulty or lack thereof will depend on the applicant, specifically their qualifications, preparation and situation.

With the proper representation and supporting documents, completing the TN visa application can be straightforward, especially if you have a qualifying job offer. If done correctly, you can be well on your way to lawfully working as a biologist, management consultant, college professor, engineer, accountant, computer engineer, computer systems analyst, registered nurse, graphic designer or any one of a number of qualifying occupations.

For a full list or for assistance with your application, speak with a lawyer skilled in employment immigration today.

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If you have any immigration-related matters, contact the Lightman Law Firm to schedule your initial consultation today.