Canadian and Mexican professionals (known as “treaty nationals,” or TN) are eligible for temporary employment in certain specific occupations in the US under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (formerly the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA). Please see this list for qualifying occupations. TN status is initially valid for up to three years and can be renewed indefinitely in one-year increments.

Canadian professionals can be admitted into the US to accept employment by presenting the following documents at a US port of entry (land crossing or airport): an offer letter from UAB, proof of qualifications (usually a copy of diploma(s)), and proof of Canadian citizenship. No application at a US consulate and no physical visa stamp is required for Canadian nationals who will be employed in the US in TN status. However, if you are hiring a TN and want to reduce the risk of your employee being denied admission at the US port of entry, you can also pay the filing fees to submit a petition with USCIS using Form I-129. Once approved, your employee can present the TN Approval Notice, along with proof of Canadian citizenship, at the port of entry. PLEASE NOTE: physicians with patient care/clinical contact responsibilities are not eligible for TN status. Only physicians whose primary effort will be devoted to teaching and/or research can enter in TN status. Please contact us for an assessment.

Mexican nationals are eligible for temporary employment under NAFTA as well, but UAB must file a petition for TN status on their behalf, and the Mexican national must schedule a visa appointment at a US embassy or consulate once approved. Mexican nationals do not have the option of applying for admission at the US port of entry.

O-1 Individuals of Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa category is reserved for individuals who are at the top of their field as evidenced by nationally- and internationally-recognized awards, publications, participation on review boards, membership in organizations requiring significant achievement, and employment in essential capacities for prestigious institutions, among other things. Please send the prospective hire's CV to for an evaluation of O-1 eligibility. O-1 status is initially valid for up to three years and can be renewed indefinitely in one-year increments. The beneficiary is expected to gather 4-5 objective recommendation letters from national and international experts who can attest to the originality, value, and impact of the beneficiary's research. Please read more about the evidentiary criteria for the O-1 here.

If you are a physician who has exhausted six years of H-1B status, or are awaiting a 212(e) waiver to change status from J-1, please note that we are happy to work with outside attorneys you may retain to help collect evidence and draft support letters to change status to O-1. However, no outside attorney can file O-1 petitions on behalf of UAB or HSF, and no outside attorney can enter a Form G-28 on behalf of UAB or HSF. All Form I-129s must be routed through ISSS for review and signature prior to filing. Please contact with any questions or concerns prior to engaging outside counsel.