Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), TN work visa status is available for Canadian and Mexican citizens who will enter the US to be engaged in activities at a professional level. Performing activities at a professional level is generally defined as filling a job that requires at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials such as a professional license. The TN work visa category also allows the sponsorship of a Canadian citizen or a Mexican citizen who does not have a professional degree or license. This type of TN work visa sponsorship is allowed if the Canadian or Mexican citizen is sponsored as a scientific technician/technologist who is working in direct support of professionals.
Unlike the H-1B work visa, TN visas are not subject to a cap. Employers can sponsor workers of Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. for certain professional level jobs (requiring a bachelor’s degree, professional license, or appropriate credentials) even after the H cap has been reached. The NAFTA visa also allows sponsorship of citizens who do not possess the appropriate degree or licensure if they will be working as a technician or technologist in direct support of qualified professionals.
The NAFTA visa applies only to certain categories of jobs, including but not limited to:
The Shapiro Law Group has helped many employers convert H visa applicants to TN visa status in the face of H caps on non-immigrant work visas. We assist companies in getting both non-degreed and professional workers qualified under the NAFTA work visa requirements. For example, marketing analysts would not qualify for TN status but could qualify as economists.
To qualify for NAFTA TN visa status, the sponsored employee must:
Citizens of Canada or Mexico are granted TN work visa status for up to three (3) year, renewable in one-year increments. Canadian citizens may apply at any U.S. port of entry or an application to classify a Canadian citizen as a TN non immigrant may be submitted to USCIS as either a regular processing application or with a request for Premium Processing Service. Mexican citizens may apply at any U.S. Consulate. Applications to extend NAFTA work visa status for an additional three years may be made while the sponsored employee is in the United States. Canadians or Mexicans who are in the U.S. may file to change their non-immigrant visa status to TN non-immigrant work visa status. Extensions and status change are filed with the Vermont Service Center of USCIS.
Our principal attorney, Ronald S. Shapiro, offers extensive knowledge and over 30 years of experience in all areas of business immigration. To discuss NAFTA visa sponsorship for a particular position or individual, or for general consulting on the TN visa and other employment-based immigration, contact our Chicago law firm to arrange a consultation or presentation.