TN Visa Requirements for NAFTA Professionals Immigrating to the United States

The TN Visa was created for professionals under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was established for economic trade and commerce between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Under this category qualifying professionals may enter the United States to work for a U.S. company or for a Canadian or Mexican company in the U.S. when those companies are engaged to work on projects with U.S. based companies.

These visas are generally limited to specialty fields or TN Approved Professions and generally require a bachelor’s degree.

One major factor in TN Visa refusal is incomplete or improper documentation. Interestingly enough, it also happens to be one of the most common problems since most people applying for a TN Visa assume they’ve sufficient documentation. Applicants are surprised when they are requested to provide additional documentation to corroborate their claims, from an Immigration Officer.

While TN Visa documentation need not be as elaborate as that put together for other distribution to U.S. Immigration Services, it should be comprehensive for the factors associated with the occupation and needs from the Agreement. Included in this are the entrant’s qualifications (as it pertains to education, in addition to licensure, when the latter is really a factor) and experience. Experience may be required in certain jobs, but it’s always helpful to document an applicant’s experience even when it isn’t formally needed.

The following points outline some of the basic requirements for acquiring a TN Visa for the United States under NAFTA.

For each respective country, the incoming NAFTA professional must:

1. Be a citizen of the respective country of origin

2. Intend to engage in employment in an approved profession and have an offer of employment (an “approved profession” includes but not limited to, accountant, architect, engineer, research assistant, chemist, college or university teacher, computer system analyst, economist, lawyer, management consultant, pharmacist, agriculturalist, veterinarian, and the like)

3. The NAFTA professional must also hold a bachelor’s degree or higher which is generally required for all approved professions, and if the professions requires licensing, then proof of such will be required as well, and

4. Have the intention to stay in the United States temporarily.

Some of the benefits to hold TN Visa status are that:

1. The professional can apply for indefinite renewal,

2. Have rapid processing time (unlike other non-immigrant categories)

3. Dependents of NAFTA professionals are allowed to apply for TD status to enter the United States and are allowed to study here.

The Laredo border is the major gateway to the North American Free Trade Agreement of international trade. With Laredo being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, understanding the demand for processing these type of visas with great efficiency is critical.

Tony Ramos owns M.A. Ramos & Associates, PC which is a high volume immigration law firm located in Laredo, Texas, on the border with Mexico, representing both business and individual clients across the United States, with an excellent success track record of over 3,583 immigration cases handled in the last nine years.

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