TN-Trade NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to promote the free trade of services and people across borders. TN (Trade NAFTA) status is available to citizens of Canada and Mexico ONLY in specific professions enumerated in NAFTA. Learn more about the TN program at Princeton through the navigation below.

1. COMMON APPOINTMENTS

TN status is temporary in nature, and therefore should not be used in connection with tenured or tenure-track positions.  Common appointments for TN status at Princeton include: Visiting Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, Visiting Assistant Professor, Lecturer, Visiting Lecturer and Postdoctoral Research Associate, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Visiting Postdoctoral Research Associate, Associate Research Scholar, Visiting Associate Research Scholar, Senior Research Associate, and Associate Professional Specialist.

2. TIME LIMITS

TN status may be approved for the duration of employment up to three years at a time with no maximum time limit. TN status is temporary in nature, and should not be used for those who intend to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.

3. MAINTAINING STATUS

It is important that you are aware of your responsibilities in maintaining your legal visa status during your stay in the U.S.  Failure to maintain your visa status could result in accrual of unlawful presence time and severe sanctions, including a loss of your legal status in the U.S.

TN’s are only authorized to work for employers that have obtained approved TN petitions, and only under the terms and conditions of their approved TN petitions. If there are any material changes in the terms of employment (job duties, full-time to part-time, change of location, etc.) an amended TN petition may have to be filed. Please consult with the Davis International Center (Davis IC) if there will be changes to your employment situation.
TN's are required to report a change of address to USCIS within 10 days of obtaining an address or moving to a new address. Changes of address are reported by filing Form AR-11 on-line or by mail.

4. TRAVEL WHILE IN TN STATUS

Canadians
Canadian TN's who travel to Canada are usually re-admitted to the U.S. without additional processing. Canadian TN's who travel to/return from countries other than Canada will be required to re-apply for TN status upon return to the U.S. You will need a current TN request letter to show at the port of entry, accompanying documentation, and a new filing fee. Please consult with the Davis IC before planning travel to countries other than Canada.
 

Mexicans
If traveling outside the U.S., you must have a valid visa to return to the U.S. Please check the expiration date of the visa in your passport issued to you at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If your visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. You cannot extend your visa inside the U.S. There is no place/office in the U.S. to apply for a new visa. Be sure to check the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for the new visa as procedures at Consulates change over time. Any time you travel you should carry documentation of your employment at Princeton (copy of appointment letter and pay stubs).

5. DEPENDENTS

Spouses and unmarried children up to the age of 21 qualify for TD dependent status, regardless of citizenship (dependents are not required to be citizens of Canada or Mexico). TDs cannot work and cannot apply for work permission/employment authorization.

6. PROCESSING THE VISA

Once the Davis IC has a completed Visa Information Form, all supporting documentation, and notice of appointment approval by the Office of the Dean of Faculty, we issue a letter for TN status.
Canadians outside the U.S. usually experience a quick turnaround time, especially since no visa is required.
Mexicans applying for TN status outside the U.S. typically see a relatively quick turnaround time. Mexicans who apply for TN status outside the U.S. must make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, pay the required visa application fee, and appear for the interview/appointment.
Changes of status to TN inside the U.S. may be done by application to the USCIS. The Davis IC files a petition with USCIS along with a TN letter from Princeton, a filing fee, and supporting documentation. However, change of status to TN applications may take 1-3 months at immigration so unless sufficient lead time is available for the process, it is usually recommended that the individual travel outside the U.S., apply for the TN at the port of entry (Canadians) or U.S. embassy (Mexicans) and re-enter the U.S. in TN status.  

7. EXTENSIONS

Princeton appointments must be extended before any TN extensions can be approved or processed. The Davis International Center routinely notifies departments that the TN status of appointees is expiring about 2-3 months before the expiration date, which should give your department adequate time to process an appointment extension request, and have your TN stay be extended by the Davis IC.  
TN status can be extended by travel outside the U.S. and re-entry. The Davis IC will provide you with a letter to obtain TN status at a port of entry. The required application fee may be reimbursed to you—check with your department. If you will not be traveling when your TN status needs to be extended, the Davis IC will file a TN petition with USCIS. Processing time at USCIS is usually 1.5 to 2 months. You may continue to work at Princeton as long as a timely application for extension of stay has been filed.