TN Visas under NAFTA
- The employee must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen;
- The employee must be employed in one of the listed approved professions;
- The employee must meet the qualifications to practice that profession;
- The U.S. employer must need an employee in that profession; and
- The employer must be a U.S. employer.
NAFTA lists approved occupations for which TN status may be granted. The occupations include, among many others, accountants, economists, mathematicians, engineers, architects, graphic designers, hotel managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, medical professionals, scientists, and higher education teachers.
Eligibility for TN status is limited by the list of approved professions, so many Canadian citizens are not eligible to apply. Most of the professions require a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
Duration and Return
TN status is easier to apply for and have approved than other work visas. It is valid for three years, but is only valid for the specific employer for which the application was originally made.
However, an applicant must demonstrate an intention to return to Canada when the visa expires. This may be simple for first-time applicants, but is often more difficult for those who have been in the U.S. for many years on TN visas. Applicants can show an intent to return by preserving and documenting ties to Canada. This may include maintaining bank accounts, owning real property, having family in Canada, or keeping a Canadian driver’s license.
Because applicants must show an intent to return to Canada, it is more difficult to get a green card while in the U.S. on TN status, since green cards are for permanent residency. Those who are considering applying for permanent residency while on a TN visa should seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney.
Where to Apply
Unlike Mexican citizens, Canadian citizens may generally enter the U.S. under non-immigrant status without a visa. Thus, for Canadians, no visa is required. Instead, Canadians may apply for entry under TN status in two ways: in person, at a port of entry to the U.S., or through application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), while in the U.S.
If you wish to enter the U.S. for employment purposes, an experienced attorney can help you determine which method is best for you and can guide you through the process.
Please contact the Law Offices of Alex T. Barak (954) 961-6200 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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