Will the newly announced North American trade deal affect the TN visa?
TN nonimmigrant status, created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), allows citizens of Canada or Mexico to enter the United States as a nonimmigrant to freely “engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis.” Examples of professionals include accountants, architects, economists, engineers, lawyers, scientists, teachers, among many other professional positions. For more detailed information regarding the TN category, please refer to our article on TN status for NAFTA professionals.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was reached earlier this week and is intended to replace NAFTA. While the agreement includes significant changes to trade and labor terms, it does not appear to alter the TN visa classification, or the list of eligible professional occupations for TN workers. Statements from U.S. administration officials indicate that TN classification is intended to remain unchanged.
The USMCA still needs to be signed by the parties and then ratified by Congress, which may not occur until early 2019. It also still needs to be approved by lawmakers in Canada and Mexico. We will provide updates at that time concerning the final agreement. In the meantime, the current TN visa framework remains in effect.
By Kristina Hernandez & Rebecca Chen
Kristina is an associate attorney at Reddy & Neumann. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2011. Her practice includes representing companies and individuals with employment-based visa petitions and applications.
Rebecca is a partner at Reddy & Neumann and has been with the firm since 2009. Her practice includes non-immigrant and immigrant visa petitons.