The TN visa issued by the United States government is often referred to as a NAFTA Professional visa. Citizens of Mexico and Canada may obtain a TN visa under terms established by the North American Free Trade Agreement.
However, to obtain a TN visa, both an employer and the employee must demonstrate that they meet the strict requirements. Many professionals find it beneficial to work with an experienced TN visa lawyer when preparing the petition and supporting evidence. Help from a knowledgeable immigration lawyer could avoid mistakes that could lead to delays or denials in the visa process.
TN visas are known as NAFTA professional visas because workers must meet certain professional employment requirements to qualify. Under 8 C.F.R. §214.6, those who seek a TN visa must engage in “business activities at a professional level.” The regulation defines this term to include those with a bachelor’s degree or similar credentials that prove status as a professional in a field listed in NAFTA Appendix 1603.D.1. A lawyer could help determine whether an applicant’s profession qualifies and whether they have the requisite training or experience.
The listed professions include a wide range of fields including medicine, science, and post-secondary education. For each profession, the list explains the minimum required qualifications.
Only citizens of Mexico and Canada may obtain a TN visa to work in the U.S. Individuals with permanent resident status in those countries are not eligible. An applicant for a TN visa must be entering the U.S. to perform a pre-arranged work assignment that requires a NAFTA professional. Individuals generally may not obtain a visa if they are self-employed.
The qualifications and application procedures differ depending on whether an applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico. While a TN visa is a nonimmigrant visa with a maximum duration of three years, the holder may request an extension or leave the U.S. before the expiration and reapply for TN status.
Because Canadian citizens can usually enter the U.S. without a visa, they do not need to go through a U.S. consulate to obtain a TN visa. Canadians may provide proof of citizenship, a letter from an employer, and applicable fees and credential evaluations at a designated port of entry or pre-clearance inspection station.
Alternatively, an employer seeking a TN visa for an employee could file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS. A lawyer could determine which process makes the most sense under the circumstances.
Mexican citizens need nonimmigrant visas before they can enter the U.S. Workers may apply for a TN visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. Once the worker has the visa, they may seek admission at a designated port of entry or pre-clearance inspection station.
Regardless of the country of citizenship, Mexico or Canada, and the method of application, those seeking a NAFTA professional TN visa must persuasively demonstrate their qualifications. The employer must clearly explain the work the employee will be performing, the anticipated length of stay, and other factors.
A knowledgeable TN visa lawyer could make sure the employer and employee present qualifications in a manner that meets requirements and fully documents visa eligibility. U.S. immigration laws and procedures are complex, and those who make a mistake may be subject to substantial delays. Call now for a consultation to learn more about the advantages a visa lawyer could provide in your situation.
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