The Complete Guide to TN Visa Interview Questions

Updated on November 3, 2023
At a Glance: A TN interview is an interview conducted by an immigration officer to determine eligibility for a TN visa. Canadian citizens can apply at a US port of entry, while Mexican citizens must apply at a US consulate. The interview covers questions about travel history, TN visa eligibility, employer details, and more. Proper preparation, etiquette, and documentation are crucial for a successful interview. The length of the interview can vary, and if approved, the TN visa allows entry into the US for work purposes. Dependents on TN status cannot work in the US.

The TN visa is one of the simplest visas to obtain since it does not involve a lengthy application process in which you must submit a number of forms. Instead, you can apply for a TN visa when you cross the border into the US or at your local consulate. The most important part of the application process is the TN visa interview, which you will complete at the border.

In this article we provide a detailed guide on how to be successful in your TN visa interview. Learn about the types of questions and topics, tips for etiquette, and specific examples of the questions you may be asked.

What is a TN interview?

Canadian citizens can apply for a TN visa at a legal port of entry to the United States, while Mexican citizens must first apply at their local US consulate. In both cases, applicants must submit to an interview with an immigration officer to obtain their TN visa.

The TN interview establishes your eligibility for a TN visa. Immigration officers will first ask you a series of questions about the admissibility of your entry to the US. You may be asked about previous visits to the US, US visas you have held in the past, and incidents on your criminal record like immigration violations or arrests.

Next, the immigration officer will move on to questions about your TN application. These questions will be about your employer, the nature of your work, the length of your stay, and more. Immigration officers sometimes contact the employer during or after your interview to corroborate your answers. If your US employment meets the qualifications for a TN visa and the immigration officer is satisfied with your answers, then you will receive a TN visa and permission to enter the US.

TN Interview Preparation and Etiquette

Etiquette and dress are extremely important to the success of your TN interview. Do your best to make a good impression from the beginning by:

  • Dressing neatly and professionally
  • Paying close attention to the officer’s questions
  • Being friendly
  • Waiting for the officer to finish speaking before you respond
  • Speaking clearly and properly
  • Answering questions directly and honestly

In addition, you should make sure that you have all the proper documents organized and ready when you arrive at the port of entry. Go over the details of your work assignment in the US before the interview so you’re prepared for questions about your employment. And review the eligibility requirements for the specific type of TN visa profession you were hired for as well.

Top TN visa Interview Questions and Topics

TN visa questions fall into several general categories, including personal travel history, TN visa eligibility, details about your employer, and more. Here are some examples of the topics you may be asked about and the types of questions you may receive.

Travel History and Background

The first set of questions is usually regarding your travel history in the US. US customs will question you about whether:

  • You have ever visited the US or held a US visa
  • You have ever been employed, owned property or paid taxes in the US
  • You have ever violated US immigration law
  • You have ever been denied a US visa in the past
  • You have a criminal background in the US

These questions are asked to determine if you are ineligible for admission to the US based on previous immigration violations or criminality. If any of the above conditions apply to you, then the immigration officer will see it in your records and you will likely be denied entry.

Merits of Your TN Application

If you are not judged inadmissible to the US, then the immigration officer will ask you the next set of questions about the specifics of your TN application. Here are some typical questions on this subject:

  • How long will you be working in the US?
  • How are you qualified for the position you were hired for?
  • What duties will you be tasked with at this job?
  • How much will you be compensated for this job?

Immigrations officers use these questions to determine your eligibility for the TN visa. Typically, these questions focus mostly on the tasks and duties of the job you have been hired for, since you’ll have documents which attest to the facts about your work history and credentials.

About Your Employer

You will likely also be asked about your employer. This will include basic information like the name of the company, the person who hired you, and the type of work the company does. Immigration officers may also call your US employer and ask them to confirm the details of the job offer and employment.

If any of your answers do not match the responses of your employer then your application may be denied. That’s why you should contact your US employer and make sure that a knowledgeable company representative is available to speak on the phone at the time you will be applying at the port of entry.

Additional Information

Other questions you may be asked at your TN interview will depend on your specific immigration circumstances. For instance, if you are entering the US with your spouse or children, then you will have to answer additional questions about your family members.

TN interviews can be as little as 15 minutes or as long as 3 hours. However, most of this time is typically spent waiting for your immigration officer before the interview or waiting for a decision after your interview.

TN Interview Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Hire A Lawyer For A TN Visa Application?

Having a lawyer is always useful for visa applications, though in most cases it won’t be necessary for a TN application since TN visas are relatively easy to obtain. However, if you are reapplying after a denial it may be helpful to have an attorney who can determine what went wrong and ensure you are approved next time.

Can An Independent Contractor Have A TN Visa?

Yes, you can obtain a TN visa employed as an independent contractor in the US. But you must be able to establish that your employer has control over you and your daily tasks and duties.

Can I Change My TN Visa Employer?

Yes, you can change your employer while in the US on a TN visa. All you have to do is register the change at a port of entry or a USCIS service center.

Can I Work For Multiple Employers In The U.S While On A TN Visa?

Yes, you can work for multiple employer on a TN visa as long as you have valid TN visa status for each individual job. However, if you work any job that is not covered by your TN visa, then you will be in violation of immigration law.

What Do I Do If My TN Visa Application Is Denied?

If your first TN visa application is denied, then you should seek out the advice of an immigration attorney. They can help you improve your application so you’ll be accepted if you apply again.

Can My Dependents Work In The U.S. on TN Status?

No, while you can bring your children or spouse to the US on a derivative TN, they cannot legally work in the US.

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Now you know exactly what to expect when it comes time for your TN interview. Preparation is the key to success: review the eligibility requirements of the TN visa, the details of your employment, and any past US immigration information. Then go over the questions and topics listed above and prepare answers for each one. Have all the necessary documents ready as well, so your interview goes quickly and smoothly.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.