According to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexican professional workers may come to the U.S. with non-immigrant status. Specifically, the TN NAFTA visa allows workers from Canada and Mexico to come to the U.S. if they meet certain qualifications.
First off, you must be a Mexican citizen (permanent residents do not apply for this). Additionally, you must meet the qualifications of your profession. For example, if your profession requires that you know a certain language or that you have a degree in Physics, then you must meet this qualification.
Your job must be offered by a U.S. employer. You cannot work for yourself. Your job must be one that is approved by NAFTA (see a list of approved professions online). The profession must require a NAFTA professional worker to be hired. Your employment must be a pre-determined agreement between your employer and yourself.
As a Mexican citizen, you must apply for a visa before entering the U.S. You will be scheduled for an interview at a consular office in Mexico. If you are under the age of 13 or over 80 years old, you can bypass this interview process. There are some other exceptions to this rule but not many. See an immigration attorney for more details.
Sometimes the consular office will still request that you make an appointment for an interview even if you are not between the ages of 14-79. First make an appointment, and then you will need to wait until an interview can be scheduled. The wait time varies depending on the time of the year, be sure to apply early just in case. A digital fingerprint will be taken at the interview.
After your interview, if you are approved, you can take the next steps to come to the United States. Have a family? They can join you. Your spouse can children (any child under the age of 21) can come the United States with you. They will need to apply for a TD visa. Your spouse and children do not have to be Mexican citizens. Once they are in America, they cannot work but they are given permission to study.
Your family will have to prove their relationship to you. If they come to U.S. after you arrive, they will need to show a copy of your arrival-departure record (Form I-94) to prove that you have been staying in the same legal non-immigrant status and that you have not violated the conditions of your visa.
Mexican professionals can apply to extend their status or even change it from one non-immigrant status to another. This does not mean that you can apply for citizenship. It only means that you can move from non-immigrant professional worker, to non-immigrant study visa or some other type of non-immigrant visa.
The TN NAFTA visa can be kept for a total of 3 years. Again, you can extend this period of time with Form I-539. Speak with an immigration attorney to learn more about extensions to your status.
These requirements only skim the surface of the application process for a TN NAFTA visa. To learn more about this visa and whether or not you are eligible for this status, contact Attorney Phillip Kim.
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