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TN Visas

TN VisasWhat are TN Visas?

A unique non-immigrant classification created as result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TN (for Trade NAFTA) visa exists solely for the benefit of Canadian and Mexican citizens. Under NAFTA, a Canadian or Mexican citizen may temporarily enter into the United States and engage in certain designated professional services. Although the TN visa classification originated with the promise of facilitating trade in services under transparent criteria, this is hardly the case in today’s U.S. immigration environment.

U.S. immigration’s increasingly enforcement-minded attitude — which frequently results in arbitrary denials or allegations of immigration violations that carry severe penalties — underscores the importance of a diligently and well-prepared TN visa application. With law offices on both sides of the border, Millar & Hayes is uniquely situated to assist in TN visa applications. This is true not just because of our convenient border locations, but because of our extensive experience handling a large, ongoing number of TN and other professional visas. TN visas are one of our specialties.

Eligibility Factors

Education

The majority of the TN visa occupational categories require some form of educational credential. Most require a bachelor’s degree, while some also offer as an alternative for qualification possession of a post-secondary diploma and three years of experience. An individual may qualify for a TN visa without a degree or diploma in three categories:

  • Disaster relief insurance claims adjuster
  • Management consultant
  • Scientific technician

Immigration inspectors routinely require a specific degree in the occupational field in order to qualify for TN visa status. This is often contrary to the government’s own guidance on the issue. U.S. immigration memoranda state that the degree possessed by the TN applicant “should be in the field or in a closely related field.”

TN applicants who possess a degree from an educational institution outside of the United States, Canada, or Mexico must obtain an academic evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service that specializes in such evaluations. Unlike the H-1B category, an applicant for a TN cannot combine education and experience and obtain a degree equivalency in order to meet the bachelor degree requirements for a TN. Where a TN occupational category requires a bachelor’s or licenciatura degree, an individual may satisfy this requirement by possessing a degree from an educational institution outside of the NAFTA countries (from a college or university outside the U.S., Canada, or Mexico).

TN Visa Occupational Categories

The TN visa occupational categories are:

  • General
  • Medical
  • Scientific
  • Teaching

An individual may apply for TN visa status under NAFTA in 1 of the 63 occupations set forth in NAFTA. The NAFTA TN laws and regulations do not specifically define the types of positions or job duties permissible under the TN occupational categories. A citizen of Canada or Mexico may enter the U.S. under TN visa status “to engage in business activities at a professional level” in one of the professions set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1. INA § 214 (e); 8 C.F.R. § 214.6 (a). For example, a position may qualify for TN visa status under a given category if in order to successfully complete the duties of the position, an individual must possess one of the credentials listed for that category. If a position requires a bachelor’s degree, then the position should be eligible for TN visa status under that category.

Documentation

Documents for TN visa application for land or air port-of-entry applications:

  • Evidence of citizenship and entry document
  • Executed TN support letter
  • Copy of applicant’s resume
  • Copy of applicant’s degrees, transcripts, diplomas or certificates
  • Executed attestation letter of supervising prfessional (Sci/Tech TN)
  • Copy of supervising professional’s degrees, diplomas, certificatdes (Sci/Tech TN)
  • Executed consulting agreement (management consultant TN and independent contractor)
  • Copies of previous experience letters evidencing five years of experience
  • Previous experience letters (if necessary)
  • Academic / experience evaluation (if degree issued outside NAFTA country)
  • Informational literature on employer
  • Payment for the I-94 filing fee

Additional documentation to submity if filing through the UCIS:

  • Completed and executed Form I-129
  • Completed and executed Form I-129 free trade supplement
  • Copy of valid passport face page
  • Copy of document evidencing current non-immigrant status in U.S.
  • Payment in the amount of $320 for I-129 petition filing fee

TN Visa vs. TN status

Individuals new to U.S. immigration law and unfamiliar with the NAFTA provisions for Canadian and Mexican citizens often confuse a TN visa with TN non-immigrant status. There is a significant difference between a TN visa and TN non-immigrant status. In order to understand the differences, speak with our Seattle WA and Vancouver, BC immigrations attorneys regarding your specific needs.

NAFTA Professions

A Canadian individual must be coming to the U.S. to work temporarily in one of the professions listed in the appendix to the North American Free Trade Agreement. These are the listed professions:
Accountant (Baccalaureate Degree, CPA, CA, CGA, or CMA)
Agriculturist/Agronomist
Animal breeder
Animal Scientist
Apiculturist
Architect (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license. Also see Landscape Architect, below)
Astronomer
Biochemist
Biologist
Chemist
Computer systems analyst who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or post secondary diploma *and three years’ experience
Dairy Scientist
Dentist (DDS, DMD, or state/provincial license)
Dietician (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license)
Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or 3 years’ experience in claims adjustment, and completed training in appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
Economist
Engineer (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license)
Entomologist
Epidemiologist
Forester (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license) (Also see Silviculturist, below)
Geneticist
Geochemist
Geographer
Geologist
Geophysicist
Graphic Designer who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or post secondary diploma and three years’ experience.
Horticulturist
Hotel Manager who must have: Baccalaureate Degree in hotel/restaurant management, or post secondary diploma in hotel/restaurant management, and three years’ experience in hotel restaurant management.
Industrial Designer who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or post secondary diploma and three years experience.
Interior Designer who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or post secondary diploma and three years’ experience.
Land Surveyor (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial/federal license)
Landscape Architect
Lawyer (member of state/provincial bar, or LLB, JD, LLL, or BCL)
Librarian (MLS, or BLS. BLS must be one for which another Baccalaureate Degree was a pre-requisite)
Management Consultant who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or five years’ experience in consulting or related field.
Mathematician
Medical Technologist/Medical Lab Technologist (Canada) who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or post secondary diploma *and three years’ experience. (U.S. job must be in a laboratory to perform chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, or bacteriological tests, and analyses for diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease)
Meteorologist
Nurse, Registered (must have state/provincial license)
Nutritionist
Occupational Therapist (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license)
Oceanographer
Pharmacist (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license)
Pharmacologist
Physician (teaching and/or research only, MD or state/provincial license)
Physicist
Physio/Physical Therapist (Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license)
Plant Breeder
Poultry Scientist
Psychologist (must have state/provincial license. Cannot qualify with just Baccalaureate Degree)
Range Manager/Range Conservationist
Recreational Therapist
Research Assistant (Baccalaureate Degree and U.S. job in a post-secondary educational institute)
Social Worker
Soil Scientist
Statistician
Silviculturist/Forestry Specialist (also see Forester, above)
Teacher (Baccalaureate Degree: must be coming to work for a college, seminary or university only); no secondary or elementary school teaching.
Technician or Technologist, Scientific (E.g.: Electronic engineering technician.) who must: work in direct support of professionals in one of these disciplines: biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, physics OR possess theoretical knowledge of discipline, and solve practical problems in discipline, or apply principles of the discipline to basic or applied research
Urban Planner
Veterinarian (DVM, DMV, or state/provincial license)
Vocational Counsellor
Writer, Technical Publications (Technical Publications Writer) who must have: Baccalaureate Degree or post secondary diploma and three years’ experience.
Zoologist

Credentials

In order to pursue a TN visa an applicant must have evidence that they have the necessary credentials to be considered a professional in one of the Schedule 2 NAFTA fields listed below. Call or email us with any questions that you may have. We are always happy to let you speak directly with a NAFTA immigration lawyer.

PROFESSIONMINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
AccountantBaccalaureate Degree; or C.P.A, C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.
ArchitectBaccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license
Computer Systems AnalystBaccalaureate Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate and 3 years experience
Disaster Relief Insurance Claims AdjusterBaccalaureate 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
EconomistBaccalaureate Degree
EngineerBaccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license
ForesterBaccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license
Graphic DesignerBaccalaureate Degree; or post-secondary diploma and three years experience
Hotel ManagerBaccalaureate 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 DesignerBaccalaureate Degree; or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate, and three years experience
Interior DesignerBaccalaureate Degree; or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate, and three years experience
Land SurveyorBaccalaureate Degree or state/provincial/federal license
Landscape ArchitectBaccalaureate Degree
Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec)L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., degree; or membership in a state/provincial bar
LibrarianM.L.S. or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate Degree was prerequisite)
Management ConsultantBaccalaureate 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 Degree
Range Manager/Range ConservationistBaccalaureate Degree
Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution)Baccalaureate Degree
Scientific Technician/TechnologistPossession 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
Social WorkerBaccalaureate Degree
Silviculturist (including forestry)Baccalaureate Degree
Teacher: CollegeBaccalaureate Degree
Teacher: SeminaryBaccalaureate Degree
Teacher: UniversityBaccalaureate Degree
Technical Publications WriterBaccalaureate Degree, or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate, and three years experience
Urban Planner (including Geographer)Baccalaureate Degree
Vocational CounselorBaccalaureate Degree

Credentials: Medical Field

In order to pursue a TN visa an applicant must have evidence that they have the necessary credentials to be considered a professional in one of the Schedule 2 NAFTA fields listed below. Call or email us with any questions that you may have. We are always happy to let you speak directly with a NAFTA immigration attorney. To view credential requirements for scientists, go to the Credentials: Science tab.

PROFESSIONMINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
DentistD.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia
DieticianBaccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license
Medical Lab Technologist (Canada)
Medical Technologist (Mexico and U.S.)
Baccalaureate Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate and 3 years experience
NutritionistBaccalaureate Degree
Occupational TherapistBaccalaureate Degree; or state provincial license
PharmacistBaccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license
Physician (teaching or research only)M.D., Doctor en Medicina; or state/provincial license
Physiotherapist/Physical TherapistBaccalaureate Degree; or state/provincial license
PsychologistState/provincial license; degree
Recreational TherapistBaccalaureate Degree
Registered NurseState/provincial license degree
VeterinarianD.V.M., D.M.V., or Doctor en Veterinaria;
or state/provincial license

Credentials: Science

In order to pursue a TN visa an applicant must have evidence that they have the necessary credentials to be considered a professional in one of the Schedule 2 NAFTA fields listed below. Call or email us with any questions that you may have. We are always happy to let you speak directly with a NAFTA immigration lawyer. To view credential requirements for professions in the medical field go to the Credentials: Medical tab.

The minimum education requirement is a Baccalaureate Degree for each of the following professions:
Agricultural (Agronomist), Animal Breeder, Animal Scientist, Apiculturist, Astronomer, Biochemist, Chemist, Dairy Scientist, Entomologist, Epidemiologist, Geneticist, Geochemist, Geophysicist, Horticulturist, Meteorologist, Pharmacologist, Oceanographer, Physicist, Plant Breeder, Poultry, Scientist, Soil Scientist, Zoologist.

Consultation

If you are serious about getting legal assistance a consultation is the best place to start. Spend up to a full hour with an immigration attorney to discuss the details of your case, get answers to your questions, work through complex issues and supporting documents and plan an immigration strategy for obtaining benefits.

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