Is there a special visa for Mexicans?

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers the question of a reader who wants to know if there is a visa that allows Mexican professionals to work in the United States.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

This is the column:

I am a Mexican citizen and currently live in Mexico with my wife and minor children. I am an electronics engineer and since leaving college I have worked in the maintenance of industrial and residential equipment. We all have tourist visas and wish to immigrate to the United States due to the insecurity that we live day by day. I have read that there is a TN visa that can help Mexican professionals work legally in the U.S. Is this true? -Mauro B.

Mauro, yes there is a visa called TN. This visa allows certain Mexican professionals, including electronics engineers, as in your case, to work temporarily in the United States if they meet several requirements.

The creation of this visa was a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

To facilitate trade through NAFTA, the TN visa authorizes temporary employment in the United States for certain specialized professionals, such as engineers, economists, accountants, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists and professors from Mexico and Canada.

In this column I will discuss only the eligibility requirements for Mexican citizens.

The TN visa is a non-immigrant visa, therefore it only allows you to live and work in the country on a temporary basis. The maximum length of stay in the U.S. on this visa is three years, but it can be extended by applying for an extension of stay.

The immigrant applying for the TN visa must be a Mexican citizen and his or her occupation must be among those that qualify through NAFTA. In addition, the person must have a job offer from a U.S. employer that clearly states that the employment is temporary.

Since you are in Mexico, you can file the TN visa petition directly with the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country.

If you are approved for a TN visa, you can apply to enter the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry. After passing an inspection, you will be given permission to enter as a TN nonimmigrant if you are eligible.

Since the TN visa benefit extends to spouses and minor children of applicants, if you are approved for the visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also be eligible to enter the U.S. However, they would not be included in your TN visa application, but would have to apply for a TD visa.

The TD visa would allow your family to live and study in the U.S., but none of them would be able to work during their temporary stay in the country.

Mauro, please consult with an immigration attorney before applying for a TN or TD visa.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog

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Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States) and presenter of immigration television segments of El Abogado a Tu Lado on NY1 News. He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Westlake South Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. For information on how to consult with Dr. Castillo, click here. click here.

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.