Canadian and Mexican citizens may gain entry to the United States more easily than others. This privileged treatment is tied to the provisions within the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The agreement was created to bolster the economic and trade relations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. USMCA had been revised is now referred to as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA.
Of the many USMCA-related visas, the most convenient to use is the TN visa which was modeled after the H1B. The TN visa is meant to facilitate temporary U.S. employment for qualified Canadian and Mexican applicants. It may only apply where the employer is based in the U.S. and the applicant is a USMCA-approved professional.
Before filing for TN visa status, applicants should first confirm that they satisfy the basic TN visa requirements. The five primary conditions for obtaining TN visa status are:
- Only Canadian or Mexican citizens are eligible for TN visa status.
- The applicant must be sponsored by a U.S. employer to obtain TN visa status. An applicant is prohibited to self-petition for TN visa status. Self-employment is not allowed.
- The position applied for must qualify with the professions covered in the USMCA Job List (USMCA Appendix 1603.D).
- The applicant must have the required educational credentials and experience for the occupation applied for.
- The applicant’s U.S. entry must be temporary in nature.
Applying for the TN visa
The TN visa is employer secific. For more than one employer, multiple TN applications must be made. Since self-employment is prohibited under this particular visa category, self-employed professionals may look at the E-2 Treaty Investor category instead.
Although it is possible to apply for a TN visa with minimal documentation, sound judgment dictates that applicants come armed with the following documents at the US border:
- A letter from the employer describing the position and confirming that it is temporary. Full details of why the occupation needs a USMCA professional should be included. The letter should confirm that the applicant will be a direct employee, with the salary level stated. Some information regarding the employer’s business should also be mentioned.
- A copy of the employment contract
- Details of the employing firm, including proof of the employer’s ability to pay the applicant’s wages
- Proof of the applicant’s professional qualifications such as transcripts of grades, certificates, and records of previous employment
- Details of the applicant’s foreign address
- A copy of the applicant’s curriculum vitae (resume)
- The applicant’s Social Security Number (if relevant)
- The applicant’s original and previous Canadian passports, visa stamps, and I-94s (if relevant)
- A license authorizing the applicant to work in the U.S. (if relevant)
The Immigration Officer may require additional documents at the border for some occupations. It is better to come prepared with more documents rather than need them and not have them. Bringing additional supporting documents shows the Immigration Officer that you are prepared, organized, and ready to prove that you qualify.
How long are you allowed to stay in the U.S. on a TN visa?
Current laws and regulations specify that you can stay and work in the U.S. for three years on a TN visa. Immigration officials, however, actually decide the duration of your TN visa’s validity. This is usually based on how long your employment in the U.S. will last and will be determined during your application. Therefore, you must make sure that the time period stated in your employment letter is accurate.
Contact Richards and Jurusik
A TN visa application should be done right the first time. Hire an expert immigration attorney to make sure every document needed for a particular occupation are in order.
The team of Richards and Jurusik’s experienced and highly skilled TN visa attorneys have an impressive record of assisting individuals obtain TN visa status successfully. Contact us today if you have questions about acquiring a TN visa or would like to know more.
To discuss TN visa application with an experienced immigration lawyer, feel free to contact us by email or call us at (866) 697-1832.