Is the TN Visa right for you?

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If you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico and you are interested in working in the United States temporarily, the TN visa may be right for you.

Under 8 CFR 214.16, Citizens of Canada or Mexico may seek temporary entry under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to engage in business activities at a professional level.

This section of the law defines business activities at a professional level as “undertakings which require….at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional in a profession set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA.”

What are business activities at a professional level?

A citizen of Canada or Mexico may perform prearranged business activities for a United States entity, meaning that the Canadian or Mexican citizen must have a pre-arranged employment agreement to perform professional services in the United States. TN applicants may not enter with the intent to establish permanent residence in the United States. TN visa applicants may only remain in the United States to fulfill their pre-arranged employment agreement and depart after that period has ended. The TN visa is issued for an initial period of 3 years, with one-year extensions granted thereafter if necessary.

The following table outlines professions authorized for TN Visa purposes:

Appendix 1603.D.1 (Annotated)

– Accountant – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.

– Architect – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license. 2

2 The terms “state/provincial license” and “state/provincial/federal license” mean any document issued by a state, provincial, or federal government, as the case may be, or under its authority, but not by a local government, that permits a person to engage in a regulated activity or profession.

– Computer Systems Analyst – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma 3 or Post Secondary Certificate 4 and three years’ experience.

3 “Post Secondary Diploma” means a credential issued, on completion of two or more years of post secondary education, by an accredited academic institution in Canada or the United States.

4 “Post Secondary Certificate” means a certificate issued, on completion of two or more years of post secondary education at an academic institution, by the federal government of Mexico or a state government in Mexico, an academic institution recognized by the federal government or a state government, or an academic institution created by federal or state law.

– Disaster relief insurance claims adjuster (claims adjuster employed by an insurance company located in the territory of a Party, or an independent claims adjuster) – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.

– Economist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Engineer – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

– Forester – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

– Graphic Designer – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate and three years experience.

– Hotel Manager – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree in hotel/restaurant management; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate in hotel/restaurant management and three years experience in hotel/restaurant management.

– Industrial Designer – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

– Interior Designer – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

– Land Surveyor – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or state/provincial/federal license.

– Landscape Architect – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec) – L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., or Licenciatura degree (five years); or membership in a state/provincial bar.

– Librarian – M.L.S., or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree was a prerequisite).

– Management Consultant – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant, or five years experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement.

– Mathematician (including Statistician) – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree. 5

5 The term “Mathematician” includes the profession of Actuary. An Actuary must satisfy the necessary requirements to be recognized as an actuary by a professional actuarial association or society. A professional actuarial association or society means a professional actuarial association or society operating in the territory of at least one of the Parties.

– Range Manager/Range Conservationist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution) – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Scientific Technician/Technologist 6 – Possession of (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research.

6 A business person in this category must be seeking temporary entry for work in direct support of professionals in agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology or physics.

– Social Worker – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist) – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Technical Publications Writer – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree, or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

– Urban Planner (including Geographer) – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Vocational Counselor – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Medical/Allied Professionals

– Dentist – D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia or Doctor en Cirugia Dental or state/provincial license.

– Dietitian – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

– Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)/Medical Technologist (Mexico and the United States) 7 – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

7 A business person in this category must be seeking temporary entry to perform in a laboratory chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic or bacteriological tests and analyses for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of diseases.

– Nutritionist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Occupational Therapist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

– Pharmacist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

– Physician (teaching or research only) – M.D. Doctor en Medicina; or state/provincial license.

– Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

– Psychologist – state/provincial license; or Licenciatura Degree.

– Recreational Therapist-Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Registered nurse – state/provincial license or Licenciatura Degree.

– Veterinarian – D.V.M., D.M.V., or Doctor en Veterinaria; or state/provincial license.

– SCIENTIST

– Agriculturist (including Agronomist) – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Animal Breeder – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Animal Scientist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Apiculturist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Astronomer – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Biochemist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Biologist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree. 8

8 The term “Biologist” includes the profession of Plant Pathologist.

– Chemist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Dairy Scientist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Entomologist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Epidemiologist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Geneticist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Geochemist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Geologist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico and the United States) – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Horticulturist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Meteorologist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Pharmacologist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Plant Breeder – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Poultry Scientist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Soil Scientist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Zoologist – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– TEACHER

– College – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– Seminary – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

– University – Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Requirements:

To be eligible for a TN visa you must

  • Be a Canadian or Mexican Citizen
  • Have a pre-arranged employment agreement to work for a U.S. employer in a profession authorized by NAFTA see above
  • Have the necessary qualifications for the position which may include the completion of a baccalaureate or licenciatura degree
  • Demonstrate minimum educational requirements or alternate credentials for the position such as copies of degrees, certificates diplomas, professional licenses, etc.
  • Demonstrate your experience for the position sought (recommendation letters from former employers)

Application Process

The application process differs for Canadian and Mexican Citizens. Canadian citizens may request admission under TN status at a U.S. port of entry before a CBP officer. Canadian citizens must provide proof of citizenship, proof of strong ties to their home country, evidence of a pre-arranged employment agreement with a U.S. employer (employment letter), evidence of professional qualifications, and recommendation letters supporting the applicant’s experience for the position sought.

Mexican citizens may apply for the TN visa by making an appointment at a U.S. Consulate near the applicant’s place of residence. The applicant will need to complete Form DS-160, provide a passport photograph 2” by 2,” present a passport valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least 6 months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S., proof of Mexican citizenship, proof of strong ties to the home country, evidence of a pre-arranged employment agreement with a U.S. employer (employment letter), evidence of professional qualifications with English translations, and recommendation letters supporting the applicant’s experience for the position sought.

Degrees, certifications, or professional qualifications obtained from an institution outside of the United States should be accompanied by an academic evaluation from an accredited credential evaluation service, as well as English translations where necessary.

Note

The following positions have been subject to increased scrutiny: managers, consultants, economists, and technical writers. For a management consultant position, the applicant must provide evidence of the actual need for the job, and the initial employment period should not exceed a period of 6 months to 1 year.

Please contact our office for a free consultation if you would like more information about the TN Visa.