Can I qualify for a TN visa if I do not have a Degree? Can I Qualify for a TN Visa with only work experience? What type of job can I qualify for?

By February 3, 2020October 20th, 2020Immigration, TN Visa

The TN visa is available to Mexican and Canadian nationals who are coming to the U.S. to engage in business at a professional level. For purposes of the TN visa, engaging in business at a professional level means the applicant must demonstrate that they have either a bachelor’s degree or other appropriate credentials and experience in a specific profession. The applicant must also be coming to work for a U.S. employer, although the employer is not sponsoring the visa in the way that an employer sponsors an H-1B visa. Additionally, in some situations TN visa holders may be paid as independent contractors.

There is an occupation list set out in the regulations that lists each qualifying occupation along with the degree or credentials requirement. Some of the occupations require a degree, while others require a combination of a diploma or certificate and work experience. A few of the occupations on the list, such as Management Consultant and Scientific Technician, allow applicants to qualify with only work experience. These categories tend to be more heavily scrutinized, so it is important to prepare a strong application if you are applying under one of these categories.

Management Consultant Qualifications

This blog post will focus on how applicants can qualify using only work experience under the Management Consultant category. Management consultants are generally hired by companies to observe and analyze operations and then make recommendations based on their findings to assist companies with operational efficiency and to maximize performance and profits. Applicants can qualify for the TN visa under the Management Consultant category if they have one of the following: Baccalaureate Degree; Licenciatura Degree; five years’ experience as a management consultant; or five years’ experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement.

Common Scenarios

A common scenario for this type of TN visa is for an applicant to be hired as a direct employee for a management consulting company in the U.S. Another common scenario is for someone who works at a consulting company in Canada or Mexico to be sent to the U.S. as a management consultant on the basis of a short-term agreement between the consulting company and the U.S. company. It is also possible for a U.S. company to hire a management consultant directly, however the role must be a temporary and supernumerary role that is not replacing an existing role or filling a new role.

Qualifying Based on 5 Years of Experience in a Specific Specialty

One benefit of this category is that applicants can qualify without having any consulting experience (although it is certainly better for the application if they do). For example, if a U.S. company is expanding its retail operations and wants to bring on a consultant to assist during this expansion period, the person could qualify for the TN by demonstrating 5 years or more of experience in retail operations. If you are relying on five years of experience in a certain specialty, it is important that you clearly document the experience with detailed letters from former employers. It is also important that the consulting agreement clearly ties back to the person’s expertise in the specific specialty and explicitly outlines the scope and timeline of the project to demonstrate that it is a temporary consulting role. If the applicant is employed by a consulting company abroad or even starts their own consulting company prior to applying for the TN, this can also strengthen the application.

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