What is TN

The TN visa status was originally created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. On July 1, 2020, NAFTA was replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.  The visa status, though, has retained the same name ("TN" for workers and "TD" for their dependent family).

The TN visa status classification is limited to-

  • Employment positions that fit within the professions listed in Appendix 2 to the Agreement, and 
  • Workers who
    • are citizens of either Canada or Mexico, and
    • have the specific education or experience listed for the relevant profession in the Appendix 2
How Temporary is TN

TN visa status is a temporary visa status, which means it has an end date associated with each approval or grant of TN status. 

TN status is also is strictly "nonimmigrant". This means that intending to live permanently in the USA, or intending to immigrate, is not permitted. The TN worker must be able to identify a residence abroad to which they may return, when their permission to work in the USA ends.


How Long Does TN Last

Normally, the law limits a worker to only 3 years of TN status, regardless of which employer the individual is working for. 

When a worker first obtains E-3 status, this is called a "new" grant of TN. If the grant was for less than 32 years, the worker may "extend" to the 2-year maximum.

Once a worker has reached the maximum 3-year stay in TN status, they may request another "new" grant of TN status. Each new allotment of [up to 3 years] of TN status is called a renewal. 

The law does not restrict the number of renewals of TN status a worker may have. The key is that the worker continues to demonstrate that they are a "nonimmigrant". The worker cannot use TN renewals to inadvertantly remain in the USA indefinitely. The longer the worker remains in the USA in TN3 status, the more likely the US government is to notice, and to question whether the worker is really temporary any more. This is especially the case if the worker remains with the same employer throughout their stay. 

What Categories of Purdue Positions are Appropriate for TN status

TN status may be used to sponsor workers in the following categories of employment at Purdue, PROVIDED that the position fits within one of the professions listed in the USMCA Appendix 2

The International Scholar Services counselor assigned to your case will evaluate and assign the position to a USMCA profession - the hiring unit and worker do not need to try to assist with this. 

  • Clinical faculty*
  • Professors of Practice*
  • Research Faculty
  • Visiting Faculty
  • Lecturers
  • Postdoctoral researchers
  • Teaching staff positions that are 'limited' term - meaning they have an end date
  • Research staff positions that are 'limited' term - meaning they have an end date
  • other staff positions where the Career Stream is professional ("P"), managerial ("M"), or executive ("E"), provided these are 'limited' term - meaning they have an end date

* Clinical faculty and Professors of Practice are, by Purdue policy, sponsored for permanent residence. TN status is not compatible with the pursuit of permanent residence. Thus, while TN status can be used initially to support the start of a clinical or professional faculty appointment, the worker must (sooner or later) be moved to H-1B status.

Administrative and operational support positions, trades are not well eligible for TN sponsorship. Most (but not all) laboratory technician positions are not well suited to TN sponsorship.

Fulltime or Part-Time
TN visa status is available to support part-time positions of not less than .5 FTE.