Rose Law Group Immigration Spotlight: The TN visa

By Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Dept.

Navigating the complex landscape of U.S. work visas can be challenging for both employers and employees. Among the myriad of options available, the TN visa stands out for its distinct advantages, especially when compared to other popular nonimmigrant visa categories like the H1B and L1 visas. Here’s a closer look at why the TN visa might be the optimal choice for certain professionals.

What is the TN Visa?

The TN (Trade NAFTA) visa was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (now replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, USMCA). It allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States in certain professional occupations.

Key Advantages of the TN Visa

1. No Annual Cap:

   Unlike the H1B visa, which has a strict annual cap of 65,000 regular visas plus an additional 20,000 for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions, the TN visa has no such cap. This means there are no worries about visa lotteries or quota limits.

2. Quicker Processing Times:

   The TN visa application process is typically faster than that for H1B or L1 visas. Canadians can apply directly at a U.S. port of entry, while Mexicans can apply at a U.S. consulate. This can significantly reduce wait times, making it ideal for employers needing to fill positions quickly.

3. Lower Costs:

   The application fees for a TN visa are generally lower than those for H1B or L1 visas. There’s no need for employers to pay the additional costs associated with H1B visa sponsorship, such as the anti-fraud fee, which can make the TN visa a more cost-effective option.

4. Renewable Indefinitely:

   The TN visa is initially granted for up to three years and can be renewed indefinitely in three-year increments. This provides greater stability and flexibility compared to the H1B visa, which is typically limited to a maximum of six years (initially three years, with a possible three-year extension).

5. No Prevailing Wage Requirement:

   Unlike the H1B visa, the TN visa does not require the employer to adhere to the prevailing wage regulations. This means employers have more flexibility in negotiating salaries based on market conditions and individual qualifications.

Comparison with H1B and L1 Visas

  • H1B Visa: While the H1B visa is open to a broader range of professions and is available to citizens of all countries, it comes with an annual cap, higher costs, and more stringent wage requirements. It also involves a more complex and time-consuming application process.
  • L1 Visa: The L1 visa is designed for intra-company transfers and is limited to employees of international companies with offices in both the U.S. and abroad. It also involves higher costs and more complex requirements. Moreover, it is not available to individuals who are not already employed by the company in a managerial or specialized knowledge capacity.


For eligible Canadian and Mexican professionals, the TN visa offers a streamlined, cost-effective, and flexible pathway to employment in the United States. Its advantages over the H1B and L1 visas make it an attractive option for both employers and employees looking for efficiency and simplicity in the immigration process. As always, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to determine the best visa option based on specific circumstances and professional needs. The Immigration Team at Rose Law Group has handled hundreds of applications for TN Visas to great effect and is available to provide more information on this visa category for interested employers or potential employees. For more information please reach out to Department Chair Darius Amiri at

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May 2024