The most common type of work status available to Canadians is the TN (or TN-1) which is available through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This status is for specific occupational categories, for which there are specific requirements. Categories include:
- General Accountant
- Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster
- Industrial Designer
- Interior Designer
- Land Surveyor
- Landscape Architect
- Range Manager/Range Conservationalist
- Research Assistant
- Social Worker
- Technical Publications Writer
- Urban Planner
- Vocational Counselor
- Medical/Allied Professional Dentist
- Medical Laboratory Technologist/Medical Technologist
- Occupational Therapist
- Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist
- Recreational Therapist
- Registered Nurses
- Agriculturist (Agronomist)
- Animal Breeder
- Animal Scientist
- Dairy Scientist
- Plant Breeder
- Poultry Scientist
- Soil Scientist
- Teacher – College/Seminary/University
For the most part TNs require a bachelor’s degree and/or specific licenses or designations. There are exceptions in certain occupations including:
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Management Consultant
- Scientific Technician / Technologist
- Graphic Designer
- Registered Nurse and
- Hotel Manager
Applications 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 (airport, seaport or land border) when the applicant enters for the US. The application fee for the TN visa is $50US and the status may be given for 3 years at a time.
The Petitioner may also submit a TN petition to the US CIS Service Center having jurisdiction.
What are the advantages of the TN?
- 1. If both the position and the applicant qualify the application procedure is quick and relatively inexpensive.
2. The TN is ideal for Canadians and Mexicans working for different employers. An applicant may hold more than 1 TN at a time. For example a management consultant may be able to obtain various TNs to allow work for 2 or 3 different employers over the same period of time.
What are the disadvantages of the TN?
- 1. The TN status does not allow for “dual intent” which means that it does not allow the holder to be both nonimmigrant and applicant for immigrant status at the same time.
2. Theoretically TNs are renewable indefinitely. Because the TN is for temporary employment, the CBP or CIS may scrutinize an application more carefully if the applicant has already held for the same visa for the same position with the same employer several times.
3. Immigrant visa applicants may overcome the dual intent problem by applying for immigrant status through consular processing rather than adjustment of status.
Dependants of TNs are eligible for TD status. This includes a spouse by marriage (common-law partners are not recognized as dependants for immigration purposes) and children under 21 of the TN.