Does My Employer Have to Sponsor me for a TN Visa? Does a TN Visa require Sponsorship?

By August 26, 2016January 11th, 2021Immigration, TN Visa

A Trade National (TN) visa is a visa available to nationals from Canada and Mexico and is based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  The visa is available to certain Canadian professionals who are designated by the agreement (NAFTA occupation list) and who meet the education and/or experience requirements.  In addition, you must have an offer of employment from a U.S. company and pay a $50 fee when crossing the border.  While some of the professions are very specific like Scientist or Economist, others are more general like Management Consultant.  A complete list of the professions and the required academic credentials can be found by clicking here.  You can also find out more about the TN visa by clicking here.

One very common TN visa client question we receive is – Does a TN visa require sponsorship?  The short answer no (at least not in the way that we typically view what sponsorship means -eg. H-1B or a Green Card) but employers often have a tough time understanding this and regrettably are not that familiar with the TN visa.  As a Canadian who spent over 10 years on a TN visa, I am intimately familiar with the significant challenges associated with trying to convince employers that a TN visa does not require sponsorship.   For one applicant, we wrote the following email to the employer to explain the common misconception regarding “sponsorship” and share it here.

“My name is Ian E. Scott and I am an immigration attorney.  I am writing to explain the TN visa requirements and to dispel the common perception that the TN visa requires sponsorship.  The TN visa is a visa that is issued to Canadian and Mexican nationals only and is based on the North American Free Trade Agreement between the countries.  Immigration benefits like the H-1B and Green Cards often require an extended process that involves the hiring company meeting a number of immigration compliance requirements as well as filing a petition with the U.S. Government.  These requirements are commonly referred to as “sponsorship” and the requirements can be onerous. The TN visa though is a visa that a Canadian can get at the border as they cross by showing the U.S. government an offer letter from the company.  The company does not have to file a petition and is not subject to any reporting or other compliance requirements.  Instead, the Canadian applicant simply pays a fee of $50 at the border and they can start working at the company as soon as they enter.   The visa is the simplest visas to process and is far from sponsorship.”

If you encounter employers who do not understand the TN visa process or feel that they will have to undertake significant efforts to hire you, contact us and we can work with you to explain how a TN visa works.  We can also assist the employer with drafting the offer letter so that it meets the TN visa requirements.

If you are considering a TN Visa, contact Scott Legal, P.C..  For more information on this and other immigration Visas click here.  You can also call us at 212-223-2964 or email us at

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  • Steve Henderson says:

    Hi Ian, I am a F1 visa student who will graduate with my AA in Nursing (RN) I have been offered a job here in a Florida where I hope to school. Can I start the process now or do I have to wait until I graduate and pass RN boards? Finally, can I apply here or do I have to go home and cross border physically. Thank you so much.

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      Kind regards,

  • Michelle says:

    Does the TN support letter needs to be changed as NAFTA is no more and mention USMCA instead?

  • John Saunders says:

    I qualify for a TN in terms of profession, educations, etc. I’m just not sure I need. one. I am a the owner of an incorporated Canadian company, and the sole employee. I have been offered some contract work in the US – work that has a clearly defined start and end date, as well as defined revenue. I would not be living there – I would travel down perhaps once a month for a few days, and then come home to write analysis. The US company pays my company, not me personally. I then claim the income for my company in Canada, and file a return with IRS indicating that. Because I won’t actually be staying in the US, do I require a TN?
    Note – I have had TN in the past under these same circumstances just not sure I actually need to.


    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. Please find attached our credit card link to make your $250 consultation payment for a one hour consultation. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. The system allows you to select a day and time. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      Kind regards,

  • Lesley says:

    I’m filling out a job application based out of the United States which asks “do you have the legal right to work in the country you are applying?”

    I’m a Canadian citizen and am an Engineer. Does the TN Visa give me the legal right to work in the US?

    • IanScott says:

      You could perhaps explain you are eligible for a TN visa and that it is an easy process. The way the question is worded, you could answer “yes” but I think employer are often getting at whether you need a visa.

  • Soham says:

    Hi Ian,

    I am a Canadian and have been working in the US for the last 5 years under TN1. I am looking to change employers but all the employers who are willing to hire me and provide the job offer letter are not willing to provide me the Letter of Support that outlines why I am eligible for TN1. Can I myself (under oath) write such a letter or have an immigration lawyer write one on my behalf. I am having a hard time persuading the prospective employers. I have even sent them a copy of such letter that my current employer provided me with. Please help. Thanks in advance!

  • Octavio Rodriguez says:

    I have found several information online that a Mexican citizen having a valid TN visa stamp can change employer by only going to the boarder and basically do what you guys mentioned in this post pay the $50 dollar feed plus the $6 for the permit presenting new employer support letter.
    Can you confirm this?

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