TN visa requirements for Canadians
Canada enjoys special trade and economic privileges from the United States due to the North American Free Trade Agreement, along with Mexico. One of the more important elements of the treaty is the availability of TN visas for temporary work in the United States. This is a nonimmigrant visa that is relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain because you only need to present the required documentation at the US port of entry for immediate evaluation.
Here is a brief description of the requirements that a Canadian worker should prepare for when applying for a TN Visa.
Proof of Canadian citizenship
The most basic requirement for applying for a TN Visa, and perhaps the most important, is proof of your Canadian citizenship. This could be your birth certificate, passport or, if you are a naturalized Canadian citizen, a copy of your naturalization papers.
Pre-arranged job in an American company
Assuming your occupation falls within the NAFTA occupation list, you must still have an existing or standing job offer with a US company or organization. The position itself should specifically require a NAFTA professional. Also, self-employment is currently not allowed in this category.
Listing of NAFTA occupations
Not just any job can qualify for a TN Visa. To be eligible, the job offer you received must be specifically listed on the NAFTA TN occupation list provided by the Immigration Service. Broadly speaking, we can group these professions into four main areas: general, medical and allied health professions, teaching and scientific professions.
Evidence of educational achievements
Some occupations on the NAFTA TN occupation list require advanced degrees, while some do not even require any form of college. In any case, you must provide that you meet the prevailing educational training requirement for the job or higher to obtain your status.
The job must be temporary
The TN Visa is only valid for up to three years, so long-term employment may be out of the question unless you choose to renew your status as you approach the expiration period. You should be able to establish this fact at the border interview. The good news is that TN visas can be renewed continuously as long as there is a need for them.
No intention of immigrants
Due to the temporary nature of employment in TN, you, as an applicant, must not profess or establish an intention to reside permanently in the US. Remember that the TN visa is a non-immigrant visa category and intending to be an immigrant almost automatically gets a red flag at the border. However, this does not mean that you are not eligible to petition for a green card or permanent resident status in the future. You can actually apply for a green card after quite some time.
A letter from your employer
Another important document to present to border officials is a letter from your prospective employer outlining your position, duties, purpose of work and length of stay. This document should establish and support many of the requirements described above.
It might be easy to assume that these requirements are relatively painless, and in many ways they are. But every case is different, and your application may involve complications that you’re not even aware of that could jeopardize your application and cause it to be rejected. Additionally, immigration officials at the border have become stricter in screening TN Visa applications due to security concerns, and many applicants often miss this screening at interviews if they do not come prepared.
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