A TN1 visa is a visa that is based on the free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. It allows certain professions (eg. lawyers, accountants, graphic designers, researchers, engineers) to easily obtain employment in the U.S. The process is a relatively simple one (just crossing the border with a letter for Canadians) and the TN status is normally granted for 3 years. This article summarizes some of the key questions and considerations related to a TN visa.
You can find out more about the TN visa requirements by clicking here.
Does my degree have to be the same as the TN profession?
Yes. The degree for the TN job should be the same or related to the TN profession. While the regulations for most professions simply call for a “BA,” the degree should match or be related to the profession. For example, someone who wanted to TN for accounting, could not have a literature BA even if they for example had an associate degree in accounting. In some cases, the TN categories may substitute the degree requirement for work experience. (For example, for graphic design). You can find a list of the TN professions here.
Does an employer have any ongoing compliance requirements for a TN visa?
No. Unlike H-1B and other some other visas, the TN visa does not have any ongoing compliance requirements for the employer.
Does the employer have to pay a particular wage or salary for a TN visa?
No. A TN visa could even be granted for a volunteer position provided the other criteria had been met.
Do signatures on TN letters have to be original?
Yes. Even during the Corona Virus Pandemic, some border posts required original signatures. We know some applicants who were denied just because they did not have original wet signatures and had to come back to the border at another time.
Do I have to bring my actual degrees to the border when I apply for a TN visa?
Yes. You should bring your original degrees. Border officers may not ask for them but it is best to have them just in case.
Does my employer letter have to be on company letterhead for a TN visa?
Yes. The letterhead should also have the address and phone number of the company. We recently had a TN denied because the company letter head was only their company name. (yes…this is a true story and the applicant had to go back to the border the next day).
Can I cross the border at any time?
No. You can only apply for the TN and cross the border 10 days before your employment is about to start. You should also check with the border post to confirm the time frames during which they adjudicate TN applications. There are publicly listed phones numbers for each port of entry that you can call to check on these procedures.
Can I apply for the TN in the U.S.?
Yes, you can apply for the TN through USCIS or at the border (or Consulate if you are a Mexican National). Most TN visas are processed at the border as it is much easier and cheaper.
Is a TN visa a dual intent visa?
No. This is a single intent visa.
Can I get a green card while on a TN Visa?
Yes. Timing is key here but given that TN visas are now issued for 3 years. You can apply for a Green Card while on a TN. You can find out more about applying for a green card while on a TN by clicking here.
How Long is the TN visa issued for?
For Canadians, a TN can be issued for 3 years. For Mexican nationals, the actual visa can only be issued for 1 year but they will be admitted for 3 years when they enter.
How much does a TN visa cost?
The legal fees are between $2,000-$2,500. The cost for Canadians who process at the border is $50 and $205 for Mexican nationals who process at a Consulate. These are filing fees and are subject to change.
Does a TN Visa Require Sponsorship?
No. TN Visas do not require sponsorship. You can find out more about why TN visas do not require sponsorship by clicking here.
What is the approval rate for TN visas?
99% of TN visas are approved (or perhaps higher) Most TN visas are approved. (past results do not predict future outcome)
What Happens if your TN visa is denied?
You can always reapply if a TN visa is denied. During your interview, you should find out exactly what the examiner’s issue with the application was so that it can be remedied. As a procedural point, if you are crossing the U.S. Canadian border, you should ask for your application to be withdrawn if it is denied.
Which TN Categories are the Most Difficult?
Management Consultant is a tough TN category as the degree does not appear to have a specific link to a profession. As such, in the past, many applicants used this as a catch all category if they could not fit into another. Now, examiners scrutinize this category. You can find out more about management consultant TN visas by clicking here.
TN visas for Economists are also more difficult as USCIS recently issued a memo that restricts the use of this category. You can find out more about TN visas for economists by clicking here.
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