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

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

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

Also, click here for your free White Paper that summarizes the top 10 Immigration Questions and Answers.

To find out more about our immigration and business services, contact Scott Legal, P.C.


Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at

This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising.  Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed.  Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results.  Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.



August 26th, 2016|8 Comments


  1. John Saunders January 22, 2019 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    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 January 31, 2019 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      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,

  2. Lesley December 29, 2018 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    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 December 29, 2018 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      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.

  3. Soham December 1, 2018 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    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!

    • IanScott December 8, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

      The employer must write the letter or you have to have a job offer from the employer with the relevant details.

  4. Octavio Rodriguez April 29, 2018 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    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?

    • IanScott May 6, 2018 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      We are not familiar with what you are referring to.

Leave A Comment


barronsnysbasuper lawyers

Contact Info

40 Worth Street, Floor 10, New York, NY, 10013

Phone: 212-223-2964

Web: Scott Legal, P.C.

Visa Services

Search Our Blog by Topic

Recent Posts