TN Visa: Working in the US
For a Canadian applying for a job in the US, the most daunting question is not what are you greatest strengths and weakness, but rather when can you start? Before answering, the Canadian should have spoken with an immigration attorney and gotten specific advice tailored to his or her situation. Nevertheless, the good news is that generally the Canadian can answer next week and have enough time to secure a TN Visa. The main benefit of the TN Visa is that the application package can be prepared relatively quickly and Canadians can apply at a port-of-entry (airport/land border) with no processing time. Meaning, you apply for the TN and receive it the same day.
The TN Visa is specific to Canadian and Mexican nationals and can provide status for an initial stay of 3 years (and is thereafter renewable). The main qualifications for a TN visa are 1) the work must be in a profession listed in NAFTA Appendix 1603.D.1 and 2) the applicant must possess the corresponding credentials.
Regarding the first criteria. There are almost 70 different TN professions. So, it is likely that the work to be done falls within one of the professions. Some categories are more closely scrutinized than others on this point. For example, the “Management Consultant” category does not require a bachelor’s degree to qualify and as such, is generally reviewed quite closely. Similarly, the “Economist” category attracts some extra attention as the category has been subject to abuse for years by those who are not in fact Economists.
Usually to meet the second criteria, the applicant will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field — a Canadian three-year bachelor’s degree program satisfies the degree requirement. Some categories do not have any specific educational requirements. For example, the “Scientific Technician/Technologist” category requires only the possession of 1) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and 2) 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.
Another crucial point about the TN is that the applicant must be entering the US to work for a US entity. The US entity can be owned by foreign nationals but must be located and legal operating in the US.
If you are considering applying for a TN Visa and have any questions, book your free consult here!