Canadian Professionals under NAFTA
The North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) allows an expedited procedure for certain Canadian and Mexican professionals to enter the United States for a one-year duration, which can be renewed indefinitely. The intended U.S. activity must be covered by what is called Schedule 2, and the alien must possess the necessary credentials indicated on said schedule. There are several advantages for Canadians or Mexicans to utilize the trade NAFTA Visa. First, the process is extremely expedited, and once the petition is prepared with the supporting documents, the trade NAFTA Visa can be given at the border after a review that may sometimes last less than an hour. There is no outside limit for the number of years an alien can remain in trade NAFTA status, and there is no annual ceiling on the number of NAFTA visas issued.
Mexican nationals are also covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement, but on a much more restrictive basis. There are a number of limitations; for example, since the application has to be submitted to Lincoln, Nebraska, it cannot be processed in an expedited manner at the border.