Visas For Canadian And Mexican Professionals

A qualified professional who is a Canadian or Mexican citizen and who seeks to engage in business activities at a professional level in the United States, may be temporarily admitted to the U.S. for employment as a non-immigrant without advance petition approval or labor certification in the "TN" visa category. The applicant must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent and appropriate professional credentials.

The following are the fundamental requirements for eligibility for this "TN" professional visa:

1. The applicant must be a business person and a Canadian or Mexican citizen;

2. He must seek entry only temporarily;

3. He must seek to engage in business activities at a professional level;

4. He must meet the minimum requirements for the profession or occupation in question;

5. The alien must not be self employed, with certain exceptions;

6. And the appropriate filing fee must be paid.

A Canadian applicant will be required to present documentation at a port-of-entry, usually to a designated NAFTA officer. If the alien is in the United States in a different status or he is extending his TN status, this can be done by filing an extension or change of status through the Nebraska Services Center.

A list of professions which are acceptable for the TN visa include engineers (must hold Baccalaureate Degree or state/provincial license), industrial designers with Bachelor's Degrees, teachers and scientists.

The documents which must be submitted are:

1. Evidence of Canadian or Mexican citizenship, usually a birth certificate;

2. Job offer letter that specifies the contemplated employment activity at a professional level;

3. Evidence of possession of the requisite qualifications to perform at a professional level as evidenced by degrees, licenses, memberships or other credentials and evidence of past experience in the profession;

4. A letter from the prospective employer should confirm that the applicant will be engaging in professional activities, state how long the activity will last, describe the applicant's educational and other credentials, show that the applicant complies with any licensing requirement and states the salary or other remuneration;

5. Evidence that the applicant is maintaining a residence in Canada or Mexico which he is not abandoning.

When presented at a port-of-entry, this is one of the quickest ways for a Canadian citizen to enter the United States.

With regard to TN processing for Mexican nationals, additional steps must be taken in order to apply for TN status for a Mexican citizen. A Labor Condition Application must be completed and filed with the Department of Labor. Also, the TN application must be filed with the Nebraska Service Center for processing and cannot be submitted at a port of entry.

TN status is obtained in increments of one year only, but applications can be filed requesting additional one year extensions.

If an alien begins the process of obtaining permanent residency while on a TN visa, he is technically in violation of the TN visa status. If he travels outside of the country under these circumstances, he could be denied entry back into the united States.