TN Work Visa’s For Canadian And Mexican Citizens
Author: New York Employment Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova
A TN visa is a work visa available for citizens of Canada and/or Mexico. The visa is much easier to receive than other work visas and in fact, may be applied for at the border. The traditional, in-conuslate application can be submitted as well, and sometimes is preferred.
The process of submitting an application for a TN Work Visa is typically handled online via the DS-160 form. Once an application is submitted, one should print out the confirmation page. This confirmation must be brought to the visa interview. AN interview should be scheduled in a consulate of the applicant’s residency. Wait times for interviews may vary by location, but the application fee remains the same : $160 per visa application.
*Fees may be increased based on a visa issuance fee for one’s nationality Each Embassy varies slightly in rules for the interview depending on the location. It is important to review these rules with an attorney prior to the interview as well as gather the necessary documents for a successful approval
Typical documentation can include but is not limited to:
- Non-immigrant Visa Application confirmation page ( DS-160)
- Application fee payment receipt
- Photo ( if you are unable to upload a photo online)
- Contract or letter of employment in the US – One must show that he/she has a formal job offer in one of the valid professional job fields outlined in NAFTA.
- Proof of licensure if necessary for one’s NAFTA profession.
The job offer must possess a number of specifications and cannot be a general job offer one might encounter under normal circumstances when applying for a job. The letter must include the detailed description of one’s purported duties, the purpose of one’s entry as well as the anticipated length of stay. In addition to these requirements, the letter must also include one’s personal qualifications and/or credentials to prove professional status. Last but not least, the letter must include any memorandum of law demonstrating compliance with DHS regulations as well as the arrangement for one’s salary. Self-employment though highly scrutinized may be also an option.
Some embassies will require additional documentation to issue a TN visa, most of the time these documents refer to one’s intent on departing the US after your employment as a NAFTA professional. This can be accomplished by various methods and it is best to check with an attorney if your evidence will be sufficient. Evidence such as these can sometimes include family ties to your home country, real estate or other valuable assets that are not easily transferable.
If after an interview, one’s case is placed into what is referred to as administrative processing, it is highly recommended to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Cases placed in administrative processing can be stolled for an indefinite amount of time.
As you can imagine the prospective employer would not be happy with the individual and might withdraw the offer. Having a case placed into administrative processing can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common two: are either inconsistencies in the evidence (suspicion of fraud) or a difficult question of case law ( the officer is unable to determine whether or not the case presented is legally able to proceed even if the interview went well).
Now ,that we have identified the process to applying for a TN Visa it is time to go over the qualifications to receive one in the first place. The first of which is the applicant must be a citizen of either Canada or Mexico as well as have a profession listed in the NAFTA ( North American Free Trade Act). The most hardship here would experience managers, as a “manager” is not a profession that is on the list, and hence is not suitable for a TN classification.
Typically, Canadian citizens do not need a TN Visa to enter the US, they can apply for TN non-immigrant status at a port of entry. The only circumstances in which Canadians are required to apply for the TN visa prior to entering the US is when they reside in a third country ( a country other than Canada or the US) and have a non-Canadian spouse and/or children who also plan to enter the US with derivative TD non-immigrant visas. However, the non-managerial position may include supervisory duties. Here, an officer at the border will make a determination based on totality of the evidence.
Mexican citizens are always required to seek permission before coming to the US on a TN Visa and cannot utilize the port of entry method described above. For citizens of Mexico, the visa would be valid for up to one year, when period of admission would be up to 3 years. 22 CFR § 41.112(a). (“The period of validity of a non-immigrant visa is the period during which the alien may use it in making application for admission. The period of visa validity has no relation to the period of time the immigration authorities at a port of entry may authorize the alien to stay in the United States.”)