TN Categories that do not require a Bachelor’s Degree or higher
The TN visa, available only to Canadian and Mexican citizens, is one of the most straightforward and versatile visas that lets you work in the United States, if you meet its requirements. As an example, the H1B Visa, one of the most common work visa categories available to citizens from all countries, is only available to professionals with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Applicants with a lower-level degree, such as Associate’s Degree, or no degree at all, often find themselves with very few visa options to allow them to work in the United States.
In contrast with more generally applicable visas such as the H1B, the TN Visa opens doors to a wider variety of applicants in the case of Canadian or Mexican nationals by allowing applicants in some professions to prove their eligibility for the job through experience or education lower than Bachelor’s degree level. The requirements vary greatly for each sub-category, so it is important to check the requirements pertaining to your specific profession category to assess if you are eligible. Here are some examples of representative categories where a Bachelor’s degree is not required.
Computer Systems Analyst
Applicants seeking to enter the U.S. to work as a computer systems analyst can meet the eligibility requirements by showing a post-secondary diploma/certificate in your field (which means 2 years+ post-secondary education at an accredited institution) AND three years of experience in the field.
Graphic Designer, Industrial Designer, Interior Designer
Applicants seeking to enter the U.S. as a graphic designer, industrial designer, and interior designer can meet the eligibility requirements by showing a post-secondary diploma/certificate related to your field AND three years of experience in the field.
Technical Publications Writer
One of the more scrutinized categories by visa officers, technical publication writers are different from general writing/editing roles and refers to writers who prepare documents relaying complex technical information such as instruction manuals, journal articles, and product how-to guides. Applicants can qualify with a post-secondary diploma/certificate in this field AND three years of experience.
Some Licensed Professionals (Accountant, Architect, Physiotherapist, etc.)
For some professions such as Accounting, one can obtain a license (e.g., Certified General Accountant) without a Bachelor’s degree. TN categories for some licensed professionals allow an applicant to qualify either on the basis of a degree or a license to practice in the profession. Check this link to see if the category applicable to you provides that option.
One of the more scrutinized categories by visa officers, the Management Consultant category allows applicants to qualify either with a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, or five years of experience as a management consultant, or five years of experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement. It is recommended to consult a lawyer if you are trying to fit under this category as a tailored strategy may be needed to persuasively present your case.
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