Zulma Lopez

Zulma Lopez

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

TN Visas for Canadians and Mexicans not subject to annual cap

Looking for alternatives to the H1B? TN Visas for Canadians and Mexicans are not subject to an annual cap, and therefore are available all year round. The TN visa was created as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It provides for an employment, non-immigrant visa for those who qualify. Generally, TN Visas are available for Canadians and Mexicans citizens that:
  • have a bachelor’s degree and/or professional license in one of the listed eligible occupations specified by NAFTA;
  • have a professional assignment, or a prearranged full or part-time job in the United States;
  •  the professional assignment or job requires the NAFTA professional; and,
  •  the applicant have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.

One of its particularities is that, as a non-immigrant visa, the applicant must show that he or she intends to leave the U.S. at the end of the professional assignment. TN Visas are granted for the duration of the job or assignment, or up to three years. Also, they may be extended past this original grant period. Think you may qualify for a TN Visa? Follow these steps:

TN Visa
Step One: If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen, and are considering applying for a TN visa to come to the United States to work in your profession, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your profession qualifies for a TN Visa. There are over sixty professions recognized by NAFTA, including economist, social worker, physical therapist, registered nurse, and college teacher. NAFTA requires proof of various levels of education, credentials, and/or work experience depending on the profession. For a complete list of the TN Visa professions click here.

Step Two: Once you have identified your profession as eligible for a TN visa, you must determine whether you meet the educational and/or work experience required for such profession. For example, an architect will need to show proof of a baccalaureate or licenciatura degree or a State/provincial license, while most scientists (eg. Chemist) will need to show a college degree. There are also some professions that are highly scrutinized because they are deemed to be abused by U.S. employers. An example of this would be the management consultant professional. Also, professionals in the medical and health industry need to submit additional documents not required to the other professional categories.

Step Three: You must then prepare to show to immigration that your profession, along with your credentials, meet the duties and specifications of the job you intend to do in the United States. Your future employer should prepare a detailed Support Statement including your purpose of entry, duties, and length of stay.

How to apply for a TN Visa?
The process for applying for TN status depends on whether you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen. Generally, Canadian citizens may apply for TN status admission at a port of entry. Mexican citizens must first apply for a non-immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate abroad by filing Form DS-160, and attending an interview at the corresponding U.S. consulate in Mexico before seeking admission in TN status.

What documents should you include with the TN visa application?
  • Evidence of your Canadian or Mexican citizenship;
  • A valid passport;
  • A support letter from your future employer in the U.S.;
  • Evidence that you meet the professional qualifications;
  • Evidence that you intend to leave the U.S. at the end of the assignment or employment; and,
  • Resume and Experience letters are also good documents to support your credentials.

Conclusion: TN Visas are a great alternative to H1B Visas because they are not subject to an annual cap. If you are an employer looking for alternatives to hire a Canadian or Mexican citizen, or if you are a Canadian or Mexican professional with an employment opportunity in the U.S., consider applying for a TN Visa. Follow the steps explained above to see whether you meet the basic requirements or call us for a consultation. Filing for a TN Visa can be an overwhelming process. There are also plenty of potential pitfalls depending on your profession and the job you are seeking. Still have questions? Click here to read the full article on TN Visas

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