TN Visa Health Insurance and Penalty?

If I worked with TN Visa in the USA last year, Am I eligible for a penalty if I did not have a health insurance?

Typically on a VISA you can’t get cost assistance, but can get minimum essential coverage (typically through work). If you file taxes in the US you’ll need to have coverage, or pay the fee for each month you don’t have coverage, or get an exemption. You won’t owe the fee if you have an exemption. Common exemptions include exemptions for passing the bona fide residence test or physical presence test.

To meet the bona fide residence test, you must be a bona fide resident of a foreign country for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year.  To meet the physical presence test you must be present in a foreign country for 330 days out of the year.

Leave a comment

We'll never share your email with anyone else.

1 2 3 4 5

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I am a MNsure Navigator from Minnesota and recently worked with a couple who came from mexico and are working under a TN Visa. Their two minor children were qualified for Medical Assistance and they two adults only qualified for MinnesotaCare (consumers pay on a sliding fee scale). When they went to file their taxes the tax accountant tried to have them go with her to her home to complete their returns (fishy already). She told them that they were being fined for have MinnesotaCare and this could possible prevent them from renewing their work visas. I had them meet with a trusted consultant who couldn’t debunk the idea that they might jeopardize their visas because he was not familiar with immigration law but did inform them that they were not being fined for having MinnesotaCare. I’ve reached out to many other colleagues in the field, MNsure operations and county representative in the health care field and no one can provide me with any definitive proof that they will NOT be penalized for receiving medical coverage. I have not spoken to immigration as of yet as I do not have enough free time to sit around on hold for 45+ minutes.
If you can find me some definitive proof that would be so amazing.
Thank you for your help.


Thanks for passing this along. I will research it further… but let me share my thoughts.

I know for a fact that “lawfully present immigrants qualify for Marketplace coverage and assistance based on taxable income in the U.S.”… Says it right on HealthCare.Gov

So if it was marketplace coverage, I would know this was wrong.

Meanwhile, if they qualified for MinnesotaCare… they likely could have qualified for marketplace coverage instead.

Moving on, the same section says “qualified non-citizens” qualify for CHIP / Medicaid.

In general qualifying non-citizen means special circumstances or being in the country for more than 5 years. And in Minnesota this is what it means too.

That said, MinnesotaCare is this oddity of a program specific to Minnesota with special rules (it actually goes beyond Medicaid expansion and in some cases works as an alternative to Marketplace tax credits)

My reaction to viewing all of this is, if they did not qualify for MinnesotaCare, then they should not have been given MinnesotaCare (they should have been directed to the marketplace coverage they qualified for).

OK, well, if they were led in the wrong direction by confused insurance sales people, then they did not commit fraud! To commit fraud you most knowingly provide incorrect information.

If they didn’t commit fraud, I don’t see how they could be in trouble.

That said, at the end of the day, I can’t find anything on this rule she speaks of… probably because it doesn’t exist.

In sum, my thoughts are 1. use a different tax advisor (TurboTax or HR Block maybe), and/or 2. report this tax advisor for a civil rights violation and let them figure it out 😉

I’m not saying that the tax advisor isn’t right, but I am for sure saying none of this sounds right to me.

UPDATE: I found the answer. “All lawfully present non-citizens may be eligible for MinnesotaCare. As of January 1, 2017, individuals with DACA status are eligible for MinnesotaCare coverage provided they meet all MinnesotaCare eligibility requirements.” In short, since they would have qualified, then there would be no question of a penalty for not qualifying, and thus the tax assistant was wrong… and if my research was correct, so oddly wrong it could be a Civil Rights issue. Of course, that is my non-professional opinion, I’m not qualified to give either tax or legal advice, I just do research. 🙂


My TN1 visa expired this April when my position was dissolved. Do I need to keep insurance coverage for the rest of the year to avoid penalties?


As long as you are paying taxes in the U.S. you need to keep coverage to comply with the mandate. However the mandate is repealed for 2018, so it shouldn’t matter moving forward.


My wife has a TD Visa and she is not allowed to work in US. Does she need to have health insurance coverage? My understanding is that for tax income purposes only me as a TN visa holder and allowed to work need to have the health coverage and no penalty should be applied. Can you help me to understand this requirement?

Thank you.


I am a Canadian Citizen, but will be relocating to the US on a TN Visa to work. Health Care will not be included for me by the employer.

Would I be able to sign up for ObamaCare like any other US citizen, or do I have to go the private route.


Yes. Anyone who is a lawfully present immigrant (including valid non-immigrant visas) can use the health insurance Marketplaces and may qualify for cost assistance.


Hi, sorry but i do not understan very well.

I start a new job in US, in July 2016, and my company is not giving me insurance, i just realized that, and my contract is only 6 months, So if i do not get renewal am i still need to pay the full year? what happened if i need to go back to mexico after the contracts ends? I will not use the healthcare …i need to pay for it yet?

Thank you

Paullete Valentino

I’ve been in the US for 6 years; the previous 5 as an F1 student. However, this year I was granted a TN2 visa that was good from April 14 2016- Sept 1st 2016. During my school years I always had health insurance, which the school always took care of, but starting this year I didn’t get it because I thought it wasn’t require. I’m in the process of renewing my TN2 visa and I’m concerned that not having health insurance during the months that I was eligible for it would affect the process. Do you know if not having health insurance could affect the renewal of the visa? Thanks!


How I get coverage for TN VISA dependents?


If I live and work in Canada and only work in the US one day a week would this meet the bona fide residence test?


That is a good question, I am not 100% sure, but the way I read it it would not meet the requirements. But this doesn’t seem right to me. You can read more here and try to glean a correct answer for yourself. Feel free to post an update.


I am applying for my TN visa in March 2017 and out of Obamacare dates.

Will private insurance cover me and my family esp my wife is already pregnant 5 months.

Most of the insurance companies are saying they don’t cover pre-existing conditions of pregnancy. What are my options before my employer starts their insurance.


I have TN Visa and I living in Mexico (all family), but I’m commuting every day to work in San Diego CA, can I get an exception for that?
Thank you!


You should, in this case, get a multi-state PPO. This will allow you to travel and keep the health plan (other plans are typically in-state networks with emergency out-of-state only). The origin of the plan should be your primary residence (likely then with your family).


Thank you for your answer, but I o have a family Health Plan in Mexico, so no need to duplicate. why to pay double?

ObamaCareFacts is a free informational site. It's privately owned, and is not owned, operated, or endorsed by the US federal government or state governments. Our contributors have over a decade of experience writing about health insurance. However, we do not offer professional official legal, tax, or medical advice. See: Legal Information and Cookie Policy. For more on our company, learn About or Contact us.