What is a TN Visa
Are you a Mexican or Canadian citizen and would like to work in the United States? Do you have a professional occupation that is recognized in the U.S. under the NAFTA agreement? Are you curious or unclear on how to apply or start working in the U.S.? This process is referred to as a TN Visa. Specifically, in the U.S., a TN Visa is defined as a visa that allows nonimmigrant NAFTA professionals, such as Mexican and Canadian citizens, to be authorized to work in the U.S. for a U.S. employer. Due to the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, Canadians and Mexicans are able to create an economic relationship with the U.S. Thus, the TN Visa gives Mexican and Canadian citizens the opportunity to either pursue business or career opportunities or business activities within the U.S. for an authorized period of time. The process can seem confusing if you’re not familiar with immigration; however in this article, I will explain the processes and steps required in order to obtain a TN Visa in the United States.
Am I Eligible for a TN Visa
The NAFTA agreement between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico requires that professionals come to either country to better their economy. Professionals that are eligible for the TN visa can include professions such as accountants, lawyers, teachers, engineers, scientists, pharmacists, and more. If you fall under one of these categories, there are still some more requirements that you must consider before applying for a TN visa. For instance, you may be eligible for a TN nonimmigrant status if: you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico; your profession is listed within the regulations; an employment opportunity in the U.S. requires a NAFTA professional; you have obtained a prearranged job opportunity in the U.S. with a U.S. employer; and you have the appropriate qualifications to work under the designated profession. Please note that if you are self-employed wanting to work in the U.S., you will not qualify as the employer issuing you the employment must not be yourself.
There is a difference between a Canadian citizen applying for a TN visa compared to a Mexican citizen applying for a TN visa. Canadian citizens generally do not need a visa for admission to the U.S.; however, Mexican citizens do. Similarly, for a TN Visa, Canadian citizens are not required to apply either. Keep in mind, NAFTA will ultimately determine which evidence is required from Canadian and Mexican citizens to prove whether they are a professional that is qualified.
How to Apply for a TN Visa
As a Canadian citizen, as aforementioned, you do not need to apply for a TN visa in the U.S. Be that as it may, if you would like to qualify for the TN classification, you will need to present the appropriate documentation to the U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) officer at certain ports of entry or at a pre-clearance inspection station. Specifically, the documentation that you must provide to the officer is listed below.
You may want to apply yourself and submit the requested documentation on your behalf. Or, alternatively, you may allow your prospect employer to submit the application on your behalf from inside the U.S. However, the employer would have to submit their own applications forms as well, if they do submit on your behalf. If the application your employer submitted is approved, then you will have to also submit an approval notice from USCIS. Both you and your employer should have a record of the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker form to provide to the CBP officer, in addition to the required documents, should the officer ask you any follow up questions.
Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican citizens must obtain a visa prior to entering the U.S. as a TN nonimmigrant. In order to obtain the visa, Mexican citizens are required to apply at a U.S. embassy or the consulate within Mexico. After submitting the application at either location, and should the application be approved, then you are able to apply for admission at certain ports of entry or at a pre-clearance inspection station.
- Certification of Canadian citizenship
- Employment letter describing your job title, description, duties, length of employment and educational qualifications while in the U.S.
- Evaluation of Credentials (if this applies to you)
- Proof of payment of application fees
Period of Stay for TN Visa
When you finally receive your TN Visa to enter the U.S., the initial period of stay can be up to a 3 year period. There are ways for extending your period of stay in the U.S. while you are still working. You must first apply for an extension. The extension application can be submitted by you or your employer. In contrast, if you have already left the U.S. before your period of stay expired; you may once again apply, using the same initial application and documentation, for a TN visa at certain ports of entry or at a pre-clearance inspection station using.
Contact Akrami & Associates to Apply for a TN Visa
It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned requirements and documentation into consideration before you attempt to apply for a TN Visa. TN Visas are difficult applications to pursue on your own, if you are unfamiliar, and it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients travel to the U.S. for business matters through the TN visa and they are now happily working in the U.S. If you believe that you may be eligible for a TN visa, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!
What is a TN visa?
A TN visa allows you to work in the U.S. temporarily. But there are restrictions to obtaining a TN visa.
What are the steps to obtaining a TN visa?
You will be eligible for a TN visa if all of these requirements are met. One of the advantages of a TN visa is it is approved quicker. But there are steps involved and they will be outlined in better detail below.
- You must have Canadian or Mexican citizenship
- The position must be under the NAFTA list of occupations
- You must be employed under an American employer
- The position should be arranged from before (either part-time or full-time)
- The position requires a NAFTA professional
- And you must fulfill the criteria that is associated with the profession
Do Canadian citizens require a TN visa?
A TN visa is not required for a Canadian citizen. The next step for if you are a Canadian citizen, you would go to a U.S. port of entry at a CBP (Custom and Border Protection). There you will show your documentation. In addition your employer can petition for you on your behalf by filling out “Form 1-129” to the USCIS. If approved, then show approval notice to the CBP officer.
What documents do I need to show CBP officer as a Canadian citizen?
- Proof of Canadian citizenship
- A letter from your U.S. employer that states the professional capacities in which you will work there (i.e. the purpose of the job, how long you’ll work there, the term, etc.).
- Credentials evaluation
Do my spouse and children require a TN visa?
If you have a spouse and children who are single and under the age of 21, they will require a TN visa. You must show proof of their citizenship as well as your relationship to them (i.e. marriage certificate and birth certificate). They will be in admitted in as TD non-immigrant status. Your spouse will not be permitted to work but she and your children can study while there.
I am a Mexican citizen do I need a TN visa?
If you are a Mexican citizen you will need to apply for a TN visa. Once received you will go to a U.S port of entry and show the appropriate documentation to the CBP officer. In addition you will need to provide proof that you plan on returning once your term is over and will maintain your TN non-immigrant status. If one of your TD dependents decides to travel after approval of extension and expiration, then they would need to re-apply for a TD visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy.
How to submit a TN application?
There are several steps you need to take in order to apply or a TN visa. You must first begin by completing an online Non-immigrant Visa Application and you submit a photo online. That is the first step you need to take if you want to get a TN visa.
Schedule an Interview
This is the next step that needs to be taken. Interviews are usually not required for anyone 13 and younger or 80 and older, but it is up to the discretion of the officer reviewing your case to decide whether they would like an interview or not. If you fall within the 14-79 age groups, you must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, which is usually at the US Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are residing in at the time.
Preparing for your Interview
The application fee is $160, which is a non-refundable application fee and you are required to pay it before your interview begins.
What documents do I need for TN visa?
Next, you would have to gather all the required documentation that is needed for your visa interview. The documents are as listed:
- A valid passport to travel to the United States, and it must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United states,
- Non-immigrant Visa Application, confirmation form,
- Application fee payment receipt, which you are required to pay and bring proof of that to the interview,
- Photo, when you uploaded the photo online but it did not work, you must bring a copy to the interview,
- A contract or letter of employment in the United States to show that you have a job offer, there are certain requirements that must be included in the letter, and
- Documentation that proves you have met the minimum education and/or work experience that is required for the job, there are specific documents that may be submitted to demonstrate these. There may be additional documents that might be required to help establish if you are qualified. Sometimes proof of a license for your given profession is not required, but should be brought into considered to bring along, just in case you are accepted into the US. You may need that licensure to practice a given profession. Your spouse and children may apply for TN visas to accompany you to the United States or join you later. You need to be able to prove your ability to financially support your family when you are in the US.
Attend your Visa Interview
During your interview with the officer, they will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa and if so, which visa category you qualify for based on your purpose of travel.
Contact Akrami & Associates
As you can tell, there are a lot of steps that need to be taken to move your TN visa application along and many documents are required for the interview. Allow our legal professionals to answer any questions or comments you may have or to help you given compiling your application package for your interview. Do not hesitate to contact us at 416-477-2545 or call our toll free number at 1-877-820-7121
What is a TN Visa?
Do you have a job offer from United States and wondering which visa is right for you to apply? Most professionals from Mexico, America and Canada do not know how to get through the visa process when it comes to transferring themselves from any of these countries to work and fulfill their professional duties. Under NAFTA (North American free trade agreement) you can apply for a category called TN visa. TN Visa is created through the North American Free Trade Agreement for the sake of business and travel purposes for the three counties that are borderly well connected. Also, this agreement enables them to be able to have rapid exchange of professionals easily through a not so complicated immigration procedure. TN visa is for non-immigrants, so other individuals apart from citizen’s category are not allowed to apply as employees in the United States as foreign workers. A lot of professionals are acknowledged into the United States at the border. This particular visa is similar to another visa called an “H-1B visa”. The TN visa is most easy for professional Canadians and Mexicans to obtain, but they will not be subject to a yearly control for the H-1B visa. This article will just explain the basics of a TN visa such as what it does, what is the use of it, what the requirements are, eligibility criteria and so on.
A TN visa or as it is called a TN status is a distinctive non-immigrant category that they use in the U.S., and is inclusive to individuals of Canada and residents of Mexico. This visa basically grants any Canadian and Mexican individual the opportunity to work in each other’s countries in specific specialized professions. This visa is pretty similar to another visa in the United States that is called H-1B visa, but a little bit different from each other. With the TN visa, an Canadian citizen, and a Mexican citizen can be employed up to three years but after that the visa must be renewed.
TN Visa Eligibility
The professionals who are intending to work in any of these countries under NAFTA agreement, has to meet eligibility criteria. In order to be eligible for a TN Visa an individual must meet the requirements. Some of the requirements are listed below:
- the individual must be a citizen
- the occupation that they are employed under must qualify under the NAFTA regulation
- must have a full-time or part-time job in United States
- also must have some sort of experience or qualification in the profession that you will be undertakin
Can a Canadian citizen work in U.S. with a TN visa?
A Canadian individual may be allowed to work in U.S. if:
There are certain jobs and occupation that is only eligible for TN visa. Some examples of those jobs that would be available on this list are:
- the individual qualifies under something called the “Professionals under the North American Free Trade Agreement” document
- a citizen who is Canadian will work in U.S. for an employer
- a Canadian citizen fits that certain criteria for that profession
- Accountant: Baccalaureate of Degree
- Computer Systems Analyst: Baccalaureate of Licenciatura Degree
- Engineer: Baccalaureate of Liceniatura Degree
- Librarian: M.L.S. or B.L.S
TN Visa Applying at the Port of Entry
If a Canadian wants to apply for a status and wants to apply at the U.S. Port of Entry, the individual must:
After they show all required documents at the port of entry, the constable or consultant will arbitrate the application and will allow either approval or denial.
- apply under TN category
- show proof of Canadian citizenship
- show proof of their employment offer
- show some kind of document with their education, and experience from the past
Mexican Citizens applying for TN Visa
Mexican citizen are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. As a Mexican citizen, you should apply for a TN visa directly at a consulate in Mexico or U.S. embassy. You will have to check the U.S. Department of State webpage under the “Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Worker.”
Once you get approval for a TN visa, then you may apply for admission at CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. You will have to refer to CBP’s website for additional information and requirements and to apply for admission to the United States. If a CBP officer considers you eligible for admission, then you will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant.
How long could you remain in U.S. with your TN visa?
A TN visa or TN status should be good for three years, but this only refers to certain employees for which it was initially requested. If by any chance a company changes their employer, it will necessitate them to start the TN application from scratch. All visa’s and work permit must be renewed after a certain period of time. The TN visa would be renewed by mail within United States, or you as an individual must return to the border and present the new application to them. In certain situations the TN status may be renewable indeterminately for additional period of time.
If you wish to stay longer in the United States beyond expiry date or your initial period of stay without leaving the United States, you must seek an extension to stay. If you are an employee in the United States, your employer may file Form I-129 on your behalf. Also, as an alternative you may depart from the United States before the expiry date of your status, and after that, once you are abroad, you may apply at a CBP-designated U.S. port of entry or you can also apply at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. You can use the same application and documentation procedures that are required at the time of your initial application for admission.
Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants
Working in a different country does not mean that you cannot live with your loved ones. When people talk about TN visa, they assume that it can only be obtained individually and their family cannot qualify to accompany them. There is good news for people who want their family members to accompany them for as long as they are working abroad. The good news is that any accompanying or “following to join” spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. There are conditions for family members if they want to be considered eligible to stay together as a family while the principle visa holder is working abroad. The conditions are listed below:
- no family member is permitted to work while in the United States, but they are permitted to study
- family members are granted TD status for no longer than the period of time the TN visa is granted to the principal TN nonimmigrant
Benefits of TN Visa
- There are pros and cons in having a TN visa. The Pros of a TN visa is that the visa is valid for three years and the procedure is somewhat similar to the H-B1 visa. Another plus side is that the visa is really simple to apply for unlike other work visas such as LMIA and H-B1. Another way of applying for the TN visa would be by submitting the application and documents to the USCIS.
Disadvantages of TN Visa
- There are also some cons to this visa category. Some of the cons of TN visa are things like, it applies to specific group of professions, which will make plenty of individuals unqualified. Not everyone is as qualified individual to be able to apply under this category. Everyone must qualify with a profession under the occupational list in order to be eligible for the TN visa. Just like everywhere else in the world for the most part, a lot of professions require advance qualification like degrees or bachelor’s etc.
Contact Akrami & Associates
If you want TN visa and want to accompany any of your family members or If you just want to work in the United States alone as an employee and need assistance with your TN visa application, please do consider Akrami & Associates for all your legal needs. Our team of dedicated consultants and lawyers will take good care of you by presenting the best possible case for you and your loved ones.
With Akrami & Associates there is always a way.
If you want to travel to the U.S. temporarily to work, then the TN visa is for you. The TN visa allows you to work in the U.S. for a 3 year term that can be extended over and over. You can apply for a TN visa at a port of entry if you are Canadian but if you are Mexican you will need to apply at a U.S. Embassy or consulate from Mexico.
The documentation you must provide include:
- Identification (i.e. passport or citizenship card)
- Your relationship to your spouse and children (i.e. you can show your marriage certificate and your children’s birth certificate)
- Your worker agreement with your employer
- Bringing your resume along with references is recommended
- The job offer that states your job, the conditions in which you will work in
- The job for which you’ll work must be enough to maintain your family
Your job also must meet the requirements of the TN visa:
As a NAFTA professional you are allowed to bring your family members who can be your spouse and children who are under 21 years of age and single. You cannot bring your parents or siblings. They would be classified as TD dependents. You must provide proof of your relationship with them to the CBP officer at a U.S. port of entry. This proof can be your marriage and birth certificates.
Your spouse and children under 21 years of age will not be allowed to work during the duration of their stay. But your children will be allowed to study while there.
To seek an extension of staying, you must seek an extension of staying. But you must provide an intention of returning in the future though. This will also permit any TD dependent who wishes to extend their stay to do so.
- The employer must be American
- You must work under the American employer
- Recognized under NAFTA
- You must qualify for the job
- The job must require a NAFTA professional
- And must be pre-arranged to be part-time or full-time
Contact Akrami & Associates
It would be beneficial to seek the help of a legal adviser because they can help you to make a strong application with the appropriate documentation and this can further increase your chances of getting the TN visa and to be working in the U.S.
What is a TN Visas?
The TN visa was created as a result of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1998. It allows eligible Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States under Nonimmigrant Status. Once granted a TN visa is valid for up to 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the applicant remains with the same employer.
How to qualify for a TN visa?
There are certain conditions that a potential applicant must meet in order to receive TN status in the U.S. The relevant conditions are:
There are approximately 60 eligible professions that can qualify for a TN visa. Most of these positions require at least a baccalaureate degree. Other professions have minimum experience requirements as well. For example, let’s examine the profession of Computer Systems Analyst.
A Computer Systems Analyst must possess one of the following requirements: a Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; a Post-Secondary Diploma (credential issued for a minimum 2 year program by an accredited academic institution in Canada or the U.S.); or a Post-Secondary Certificate (certificate issued for a minimum 2 year program at an academic institution recognized by the federal or state government of Mexico) plus 3 years’ experience. As you can see, there is some flexibility afforded in meeting the minimum academic qualifications for this position.
- Must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen (permanent residents may not apply)
- Must be in a profession listed under the NAFTA regulations (taken from Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA)
- Must be filling a position in the United States which requires a NAFTA professional
- Must have a prearranged full or part-time position with a single U.S. employer
- Must have achieved the minimum academic qualifications for the profession (listed in Appendix 1603.D.1)
Positions under Heightened Scrutiny
It seems to be easier to obtain a TN visa depending on the profession. This comes down to the job description and how much flexibility is granted to particular duties of the profession. For example, applicants applying under the Computer Systems Analyst profession will be more carefully processed than other professions due to the fact that the lines may be blurry between duties carried out by an Analyst as opposed to duties carried out by a Programmer. The same can be said for any professions that involve consulting. The immigration officer will need to carefully verify that a consultant is indeed acting in the capacity of a consultant and not a manager.
Renewal of TN Visas
After successfully obtaining TN status, visa holders can renew their applications when their initial period is about to expire. This can be done by mailing in a renewal if the applicant is still in the United States, or it can be done by returning to a border or port of entry and presenting a new application.
Recently there have been more incidents of applicants being refused renewals for the TN visa. While on paper you should be able to renew indefinitely as long as you continue to work for the same employer, in actuality the officer is not required to renew TN status. It is up to the reviewing officer’s discretion.
There have also been reported instances of U.S. Border Service officers applying more stringent rules on TN visa holders who wish to renew. According to an open letter submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada from Peter Zurawel, the Colorado Director of IBI Group, many of his employees on TN visas were told to also apply for an L-1 visa.
What is an L-1 Visa?
There are 2 types of L-1 Visa: L-1 A which is for executives and managers, and L-1 B which is for workers with specialized knowledge. Depending on their profession, TN visa applicants may also be requested to apply for a corresponding L-1 visa. Like the TN Visa, the L-1 is a non-immigrant visa most commonly made available to employees of international companies with offices in the U.S.
To obtain an L-1 Visa, applicants may be required to apply for either: a Regular L-1, or a Blanket L-1.
To apply for a Regular L-1 Visa, the international company that employs the applicant must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for each employee wishing to enter the U.S. for work. Each application is evaluated separately.
To apply for a Blanket L-1 Visa, the international company is already registered with the USCIS and has been approved for Intracompany Transferee visas. In this case, an employee can simply file a copy of the company’s blanket petition along with documentation. In this way the blanket petition covers all employees of the company wishing to enter the U.S.
TN Visas: What Documentation is Necessary to Apply?
In order to increase your chances of success in obtaining a TN Visa, it is advisable to gather the documentation that helps to validate your background. There are cases of applicants succeeding even though they provided minimal documentation. Nonetheless, it is always better to be well prepared, particularly if the officer decides to be extremely thorough in his or her assessment.
Below are some examples of documentation that could help you obtain a TN Visa at the U.S. border or port of entry:
These are just some of the documents that can help you successfully apply for a TN Visa. A professional application package would contain all the information necessary to prove your background, credentials, and reasons for requesting to work in the U.S.
- Proof of Qualifications: As mentioned earlier, each profession has strict minimum requirements in terms of relevant education, training, licensing, certification, and experience. It is in the applicant’s best interest to bring documentary proof of this. Remember, when it comes to presenting qualifications from Canada or Mexico, you should have them assessed by a qualified U.S. credentials evaluator or academic, as there may be differences in equivalencies. If you are presenting proof of qualifications in a language other than English, these documents will need to have been officially translated so that the officer may read them.
- Letter of Employment: The company you are working for should furnish you with an employment letter on company letterhead. It is also better if this employment letter is signed and dated to make it more official. The letter should confirm that your position is temporary and that you will be a direct employee of the company. A crucial detail to be included in the letter of employment is the duties of your position. If the duties do not correspond with the information about your profession outlined in Appendix 1603.D.1, then you may not be able to qualify for a TN Visa. It is also important for the letter to mention your salary.
- Information about the Company: It is important that the officer evaluating your application has access to proper details about the company you are employed with. This could be a general information sheet about the company’s location, objectives, revenue, size, etc.
- Resume: It doesn’t hurt to have an up to date resume available which can quickly allow the officer to evaluate your relevant educational and work experience. A professional resume helps make a good impression and really helps to summarize what you are capable of doing.
Contact Akrami and Associates
If you are adequately prepared to apply for a TN Visa, you will have a much better chance of receiving permission from the U.S. officer so that you can enter the country and start working. For those considering going to the U.S. to work as a professional under the NAFTA agreement, make sure that you prepare the best possible application. Contact our legal team of Canadian and U.S. immigration lawyers today at 416-477-2545. Our staff can help you enter the next phase in your professional career by using our experience and knowledge to benefit you.