TN Visa: Teacher (College/University)

Background of TN Visa Category

The TN visa occupational category for College/University Teachers was first listed in the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1989. See 54 Federal Register 12 (Jan. 3, 1989). The predecessor to NAFTA, the FTA provided work authorization under TC visa status, which was only available to Canadian citizens. The occupational category for College/University Teachers was carried over and included in the NAFTA list of available occupations in 1994. See 58 FR 69205 (Dec. 30, 1993).

During the development of the regulations for the FTA, a request was made to add elementary and secondary school teachers to the list of Teaching Occupations eligible for TC status. See 56 Federal Register 480 (Jan. 7, 1991). The legacy INS indicated it would consider this recommendation. Id. However, elementary and secondary school teachers were never added to the FTA, or included subsequently in NAFTA.

TN Visa Applicant Requirements

To qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for College/University Teachers, an individual must possess one of the following:
  • Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) degree; or
  • Licenciatura Degree.
The regulations governing TN visa status generally do not provide any guidance on the type of degrees or majors suitable for a particular TN occupational category. To determine the types of degrees suitable for College/University Teachers for purposes of a TN visa, we may refer to U.S. Department of Labor publications such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). See Royal Siam Corp. v. Chertoff, 484 F.3d 139, 145 (1st Cir. 2007).

Read more about the TN visa degree requirements.

TN Visa Job Duties Requirements

As stated in the TN visa regulations, the TN visa classification for Teachers generally only permits teaching at the post-secondary level (college or university). If an individual wants to teach at the elementary or secondary level, he/she may have to pursue an alternative non-immigrant visa classification like the H-1B visa or J-1 visa. See also 81 FR 4945 (Jan. 29, 2016) for more information on J-1 visas for teachers.

The TN visa regulations do not specifically define the types of college or university teaching positions or job duties that are permissible under this TN category. Like the degree requirement, individuals should refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for guidance on the generally accepted job duties for this occupation.

Read more about TN visa job duties.



Revised Feb. 13, 2013.