Area of Law: USA Travel and Immigration
Answer # 1043
Working in the USA under NAFTA (TN Visa)Region: Ontario Answer # 1043
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows Canadian and Mexican citizens who are members of eligible professions to work in the USA. Some of the professional categories listed include but are not limited to: lawyer, accountant, teacher, management consultant, engineer, scientist, economist, librarian, computer systems analyst, social worker, mathematician, graphic designer and others. Please see Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of NAFTA for a full list of categories and further detail on requirements.
To be eligible for TN status, the applicant must have a valid job offer that meets certain requirements. For example, the offer must be temporary and outline job duties that are in line with those of the professional category. The letter must state the category under which the individual is applying, provide detail on the job duties and indicate why the individual is qualified for the role. The letter should also clearly outline remuneration arrangements.
The applicant must also possess the required qualifications. Qualification requirements vary depending on the category, and may include a “baccalaureate degree” (i.e. bachelor’s degree) or a combination of a degree and years of experience. For example, engineers require a baccalaureate degree or state/provincial license. Other categories, such as economist, social worker, or mathematician, require a baccalaureate degree. The management consultant category requires a degree or at least five years of qualifying work experience. Other categories, such as the computer systems analyst, require a baccalaureate degree or a post-secondary diploma and three years of experience. Where a degree is required, if it is from a foreign institution, it may need to be assessed for equivalency to a degree issued by a USA or Canadian institution. The post-secondary diploma is usually defined as one that is obtained after two years of coursework. Officers may also ask for evidence that the degree is related to the professional category.
At the time of applying, the applicant should bring original application materials, including the signed employer letter and the original degree, where applicable. The applicant should also carry proof of ties to a home country other than the US, in case information on temporary intent is requested by the officer.
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