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Sponsor TN Workers (Canadians and Mexicans)

This nonimmigrant visa category allows Canadian citizens (but not landed immigrants) to enter the United States to engage in professional activities. These activities are undertakings that require at least a baccalaureate (bachelor's) degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional. 

Dependents of a person holding TN status can enter on TD status, but are not allowed to work. 

Canadian citizens apply at the U.S. border by presenting their offer letter from Cornell. A Canadian citizen entering in this category can apply to stay for up to three years at a time, renewable indefinitely. There is no limit to the number of possible extensions.

Extension of TN status within the US: While most TN's are renewed in-person at a U.S. border crossing, current travel conditions are resulting in inquiries about extensions of status within the U.S. For more information about this process and Cornell sponsorship policies, please contact us.

Mexican citizens also qualify for the TN visa, but application procedures are more complicated. Email us for details. 

Our website has a wealth of information for international faculty and staff. We are also happy to advise you or your visitors in person.

For Canadians: How to Apply for TN 

  1. Get Offer
  2. Apply

1 Get an offer letter. 

The hiring department provides an offer letter that lists the salary, complete description of job duties, length of stay, and requirements for degree or licenses. The job title must mirror one on the list of accepted professional occupations. See list accepted professional occupations as per the NAFTA treaty.

2 Apply at a U.S. port of entry. 

To enter the United States in TN status, you must apply at a U.S. port of entry. We recommend entry during business hours.

Bring the following documents: 

  • Evidence of Canadian citizenship 
  • Original documentation of professional qualifications (diplomas, degrees, transcripts). if the degree was obtained outside of North America, it must provide an accredited degree evaluation and English language translation
  • Letter or contract from the hiring department (see samples below) 
  • $50 fee 
  • Dependent family members must bring marriage license, birth certificate or adoption record

Do not pack these items in your checked luggage.

Sample TN Hiring Department Letters 

The letter from the department or hiring unit must include a professional title that clearly relates to one of the occupations on the TN list of professional occupations. See list of accepted professional occupations are per the NAFTA treaty.

For this reason, a Cornell academic title alone (for example, research associate II) may not be sufficient. If the academic title is not descriptive, be sure to include a working title in the letter, as well as a full description of the nature of the job duties, the anticipated length of stay, and the pay arrangements.

The letter on official letterhead must also include the following data elements:

  • A detailed job description
  • Salary and benefits
  • Duration of employment
  • Original signature of hiring authority
Sample A 

To Whom It May Concern: 

This letter is to certify that the Veterinary College at Cornell University is offering the position of Veterinarian to Mary James. The appointment will be from June 1, 2020, to June 1, 2022, at an annual salary of $90,000. 

The duties of her job will include overseeing the animal care and use program at Cornell University. She will aid in employee training programs, work with housing and procurement of research animals, and provide advice and consultation on animal models and federal, state, and local rules and regulations pertaining to animal use. She will share on-call duties with other veterinarians.

Sample B 

Dear U.S. border official: 

This letter is to certify that the Department of Physics at Cornell University is offering the position of Scientific Technician to John Thomas. The appointment will be from June 1, 2020, to June 1, 2021, at a salary of $35,000. 

The duties of his job will include direct support of the twelve professional physicists in the department. He will be applying principles of high-energy physics to both basic and applied research as he supports the research group in their current projects. 


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