The most common type of work visa available to Canadians are TN (or TN-1) visas—which are available through the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NAFTA). These visas are restricted to specific occupational categories, for which each has very specific requirements. Categories include:
- Hotel Managers
- Registered Nurses
- Post-secondary Teachers / Professors
For the most part, TN visas require a bachelor’s degree and/or specific licenses or designations and there are no exceptions to these requirements in regard to these categories. There are, however, several exceptions in other categories such as the requirements for:
- Computer Systems Analysts
- Management Consultants and
- Scientific Technicians
Applications occurring in these categories may not necessarily require a bachelor’s degree but may accept the equivalent—either in the form of experience or a combination of experience and other post-secondary education (such as a 2- year post secondary diploma).
The application process for TN visas is at the point of entry (land) or pre-flight inspection office (airport) as as the applicant leaves for the US. The application fee for the TN visa is $50US ($54US at land crossings) and the visa is good for 1 year.
The Petitioner may also submit a TN application at the US CIS Service Center which has jurisdiction over the state in which the Petitioner is situated.
What are the advantages of the TN visa?
- If both the position and the applicant qualify, the application procedure is quick and relatively inexpensive.
- The TN visa is ideal for Canadians working on short-term contracts for different and numerous employers. There is no restriction preventing an applicant to hold more than 1 TN visa at a time, and so, for example, a management consultant may be able to obtain 2 or 3 TN visas to allow him/her to work for 2 or 3 different companies over the same period of time.
What are the disadvantages of the TN?
- The TN is only good for 1 year, which means if you wish to maintain your TN status, the applicant will have to either (a) get him/herself back to a Canadian border to re-apply or (b) submit the application to re-apply at one of the US CIS Service Centers before the year is up.
- The TN status does not allow for “dual intent” which means that the TN holder may not apply for permanent residency / immigrant status while on TN status.
- Technically, TN’s are renewable indefinitely. Practically, however, because the TN is supposedly for temporary employment, the US CIS may scrutinize your application more if the applicant has already re-applied for the same visa for the same position with the same employer for several years in a row.
Dependants of TN holders are eligible for TD status. This includes a spouse by marriage (common-law partners are not recognized as dependants for visa purposes) and children of the TN holder.