On October 14, 2008, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an increase in the maximum period of stay for Trade-NAFTA (TN) professional workers from Canada or Mexico to three years. The increase is effective immediately. As a result of this change, TN professionals are eligible to apply for a three-year grant of TN status and would thus not need to seek readmission or an extension of stay on an annual basis. Please note that the grant of TN status for a period of three years is not automatic, and TN non-immigrants may be granted a shorter duration at the discretion of a Free Trade Officer.

Until this announcement, TN professionals were permitted to remain in the United States for a period of only one year before requiring readmission or an extension of stay, and the allowable extensions of stay occurred in one-year increments.

The TN non-immigrant classification is available to Mexican and Canadian nationals who possess at least a Bachelor’s degree or appropriate professional credentials and who will work in the United States in certain qualified professions pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and related regulations. Professionals eligible for TN classification include accountants, engineers, pharmacists, scientists, and numerous others.