Approval of the TN Visa (also referred to as TN Status) to work in the U.S. is very subjective and since 9/11 and the various terrorist attacks, the U.S. Immigration Officers scrutinize each TN Visa application more carefully. This does not mean it is impossible for you to obtain your TN Visa, rather it means you want to ensure your TN Visa application is valid, professional and most importantly you are well prepared for the border interview.
There are three key areas that cause people to be denied their TN Status. Interestingly enough, people who read this article think, “Oh, this does not apply to me, I’ve addressed these areas.” Do not hastily jump to this conclusion, for your future is at stake.
Problem #1: Intent to Stay
Admission to the U.S. as a TN-1 temporary worker can be pretty straightforward if you’ve prepared your materials properly and correctly answer the Immigration Officer’s questions. However, be very careful at the border. It is very simple for an Inspector to turn an applicant away. Especially, if there is a question about the TN applicant’s eligibility for admission. Everyday INS denies TN Visa application and sends prospective entrants back where they came from. If you have flown into a U.S. airport and are denied, it can be costly experience. As such, you need to be prepared for the border interview.
One of the reasons for turning away a TN1 applicant is the failure to establish nonimmigrant intent.
The TN Visa is not a dual-intent classification, and you have to be able to establish, to the satisfaction of the Immigration Officer, that you will return home at some point in the future. Family, property ownership, a job to which you will return, an offer of employment specified to begin at a future date are all examples of ways in which to prove that you’ll return home. There are others, as well.
If your situation does not clearly show intent for temporary stay, do not despair, you can still qualify for the TN Visa and can successfully obtain the TN Visa. Situations such as: you do not own any property in Canada, you are being offered a full-time job, your spouse has a Green Card and many more do not exempt you from obtaining the TN Visa.
If the employment letter makes it sufficiently clear that the position is temporary or that you will fill it on a temporary basis, the Officer may not bring up the issue of intent at all.
Remember, you want to be confident and well prepared when you apply for your TN Visa and when speaking with the Immigration Officer. Minimize your chances of rejection and by making informed decisions before heading to the border.
Problem #2: Job Title Specification
A second reason for denying a TN1 Applicant is the perceived ineligibility under NAFTA’s Schedule of Occupations (NAFTA Job List).
The NAFTA Schedule of Occupations that are available to TN Visa applicants is relatively limited, and titles from the Schedule more often than not don’t correspond neatly to “real life” job titles. The TN Visa Employer Letter should make it clear that you’re going to be employed in one of the occupational areas that appear on the Schedule.
The letter itself should be concise and brief. Avoid writing a letter that suggests long-term employment or the potential of obtaining the Green Card in the future. Lengthy offer letters with much discussion of benefits and other perks are also to be shunned.
Problem #3: Presentation of Documentation
Incomplete or improper documentation forces many people to be denied their TN Visa. It is also one of the most common problems because most people assume they have sufficient documentation and then are surprised when the Immigration Officer is asking for additional documentation to corroborate the applicant’s claims.
The TN Visa documentation is not nearly as complicated compared to other submissions to U.S. Immigration Services. Nevertheless, it needs to contain the relevant documentation related to the occupation and requirements of the NAFTA Agreement. These include the applicant’s qualifications (degrees, transcripts, licenses, accreditation certificates) and experience. Proof of experience is required in some occupations though it is always useful to document an applicant’s experience even if it’s not formally required.
Do not attempt to “bulk up” the application unnecessarily. Package the various materials neatly and securely. Always have photocopies of the documentation being presented.
Finally, successfully obtaining your TN Visa can be done easily when you are well informed and fully prepared.