Visas for Canadian and Mexican Professionals (TN)
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico became effective on January 1, 1994. NAFTA allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to enter the U.S. on TN status in order to engage in “activities at a professional level” requiring “at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credential demonstrating status as a professional.” Spouses and children are eligible for TD status.
Unlike an H-1B, there are no numerical limitations (quota). So anyone with Canadian or Mexican citizenship, whose petition was rejected due to the H-1B cap, should consider a TN visa. Australian professionals who miss the H-1B cap should consider an E-3 visa which also is not subject to numerical limitations.
To qualify for TN status, the Canadian or Mexican professional must meet the following requirements:
- Have an offer of employment from a firm or individual (U.S. sponsor)
- The proposed position must be in a qualifying occupation
- The foreign national cannot have immigrant intent (and demonstrate that s/he does not intend to abandon her/his foreign residence)
- Have a bachelor’s degree related to the proposed position
There are about 63 different categories of qualifying occupations. They include: accountants, architects, computer systems analyst, claims adjuster, economist, engineer, forester, graphic designer, hotel manager, industrial designer, or interior designer, land surveyor, landscape architect, lawyer, librarian, management consultant, mathematician, conservationist, research assistant, scientific technician, social worker, technical writer, urban planner, vocational counselor, medical professionals, scientist, and teacher. You can see the entire list here.
An initial TN approval is for up to three (3) years, with unlimited extensions available. Even though there is no limit to the number of extensions, an excessive number of extensions can be deemed as “immigrant intent.” For example, a foreign national with an I-140 approval may be denied entry.
Canadian professionals may apply for TN admission at the port of entry. Mexican professionals must obtain a visa or a Border Crossing Card. NAFTA also allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to enter the U.S. as business visitors as long as they do not receive any salary or other remuneration (other than allowed expenses). Just like with the TN visa, they must be entering the U.S. to engage in one of the qualifying occupations mentioned above.
How We Can Help.
- We work with the employer to determine the proper occupation (determined by the position title, duties, job description and salary).
- If the proposed position does not fall within the qualifying list of occupations, we present a legal argument that the proposed position is a specialty occupation.
- We prepare an Employer Support Letter that describes the proposed employment, the employer, a detailed job description, and the foreign national’s qualifying education and experience.
- We prepare TN “change of status” or “extension of status” petitions with USCIS.
- We prepare the applications for dependent spouse and child(ren).
Please give us a call to discuss your case. In-person consultations are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please call our office at 301.529.1912 or complete the form below. Please be sure to provide a timeline of events along with details of your entire immigration history./strong>