CBP is short for Customs and Border Patrol. CBP has recently issued a practice pointer useful for Canadians wanting to enter the U.S. with a TN visa under NAFTA. NAFTA, which is the North American Free Trade Agreement, allows Canadians and Mexicans to be eligible for a TN nonimmigrant visa, if they have an employer willing to sponsor them for a professional position.
Citizens of Canada can make an application for a TN visa at a U.S. class port of entry, at a U.S. pre-clearance or pre-flight station, or a U.S. airport handling international traffic. Usually the applicant must submit the filing fee, copies of all relevant degrees showing he or she is eligible for the professional position, and an offer of employment letter from his or her sponsoring employer on original company letter. The Offer of employment letter must specify the offered job, rate of pay, and basic duties required under that offered job. The letter must also state the length of admission requested. Usually proof that the applicant will NOT immigrate to the U.S. permanently should be provided as well.
A TN visa can be issued for a maximum of three years. However, the length of the visa cannot exceed the applicant’s passport validity date. In other words, if the applicant wants a three year visa, then his or her passport must be valid for three years or more to qualify.
If the Canadian national is already in the U.S. and has not overstayed his or her visitor visa (up to 6 moths allowed), then he or she can file a change of status request with USCIS instead of traveling in order to obtain a TN visa.
Some positions that qualify for a TN visa include engineers, accountants, architects, economists, social worker, and many other professional level positions.