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Do you need consulting experience to qualify for a TN visa as a management consultant?

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The TN visa is one of the quickest and straightforward ways a Canadian or Mexican national can obtain authorization to work in the United States. The catch is that it is only available to certain professional categories, such as engineers, accountants, veterinarians, pharmacists, and others that are explicitly listed in the regulations.

“Management consultant” is one of the professional categories eligible for a TN visa, and it is one of the more popular categories because management consultants work in a broad variety of fields. This is also one of the rare categories that a worker can qualify for without a Bachelor’s degree or above. You can also qualify as a management consultant by virtue of your work experience. Specifically, if you have over 5 years of work experience in consulting, or in a field related to the consulting agreement.

The language here is worth taking a second look. An applicant can qualify for having worked 5 or more years as a consultant, but they also may qualify by having worked 5 or more years in a field related to the consulting agreement.  For example, there could be a case where someone has worked 5 or more years directly providing services to veterans, and the consulting agreement is specifically looking for someone with such experience to provide advice to a company or organization to help improve their program offerings to veterans.  Even though the applicant’s prior work experience may not count as consulting experience, it can be counted as experience related to the consulting agreement.

Thus, prospective applicants for a TN visa need not be discouraged just because they haven’t worked at a traditional consulting firm such as Deloitte or PwC, or because they haven’t accumulated more than 5 years of work experience as a consultant proper.  The regulations allow applicants to qualify by showing 5 years of work experience in the field related to the U.S. job offer.

Just make sure that the job offer also qualifies as a management consultant position, where you are being hired to analyze a company’s programs, offerings, or systems and provide advice and recommendations on how to improve them and achieve the company’s goals better.

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