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Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explains the NAFTA TN visa for Canadians, a non-immigrant visa that allows citizens of Canada to work in the United States in a professional occupation. The TN visa is a part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was created in 1994. NAFTA was replaced by the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) in 2018 and went into effect on July 1, 2020. The USMCA is a modernized version of NAFTA that includes new provisions on labor, environmental protection and digital trade.
The TN Visa program provides a streamlined process for Canadians to obtain a U.S. work permit. For a Canadian who wants a NAFTA TN Visa, you must be a citizen of Canada and have a job offer in the United States in a professional occupation. The list of eligible occupations is published by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) makes it possible for Canadian citizens to work in the United States on a TN visa. The TN visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows Canadian citizens to work in the United States in a professional occupation. If you are interested in working in the United States on a TN visa, I encourage you to listen to my podcast. In this podcast, I will discuss the following topics
- What is a TN visa?
- Who is eligible for the TN visa?
- What are the requirements for a TN visa?
- How to apply for a TN visa?
- What are the benefits of the TN visa?
About Evelyn Ackah
Evelyn Ackah is the Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law. We work with individuals and business owners from all over the world who want to cross borders seamlessly. For more information on immigration to Canada or the United States, Ask Evelyn Ackah at Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (403) 452‑9515 or email Evelyn directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah podcast by Calgary Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah was named #1 Best Canada Immigration Podcast in 2022 by Feedspot.
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This is Evelyn Ackah from Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah Podcast, and today on our LinkedIn Live for Ackah Business Immigration Law. Thank you so much for joining.
I want to talk today about the TN professional visa. It's called a Treaty NAFTA visa, and this is the one that is focused on helping professionals from Canada move to the United States. What's great about the TN visa category is that it has about 70 professions that are listed, and if you fit into the boxes, you are able to obtain a US work permit so long as you have a US employer or a US client in the case of a management consultant category.
The TN category was created at the very beginning when NAFTA was created now probably 35 years ago, and it hasn't changed very much even with the change of the NAFTA agreement to be called the USMCA, the US Mexico Canadian Free Trade Agreement. A lot of Canadians use the TN visa category to help them go and do work either for long period of time or for temporary purposes. So one of the options I always say to people when they tell me they're Canadian citizens, you must have a Canadian passport to qualify. You cannot qualify if you are a permanent resident of Canada because you're not a citizen of Canada. The TN allows you to make your application at the airport or the border into the United States to start your employment with the US company. So some positions we do regularly are RTN engineers, computer systems analysts, economists, accountants, lawyers, doctors, professors are there, nurses, you'll notice from the list that I'm providing, it's very old school. It hasn't really changed to the applied to the gig economy or a new highly technical economy, and so it's based on education.
If you have a bachelor's degree in that category that is also found on the NAFTA, you'll qualify for a TN visa so long as you have a proper job offer for a US employer. So let's say that you are an engineer and you've been offered a great opportunity to work in Texas for a US entity. They will provide you with a job offer, and it must be an original, literally original signed in blue ink couriered to you or given to you. Then, you will work with our legal professionals such as our firm and myself at Ackah Business Immigration Law, and we will then prepare the rest of the materials so that you are prepared for making your application because it's all done at the airport. At Ackah Law we draft the legal submission letter, we draft the employer support letter, the petitioner's letter it's called, and we draft all the other remaining documents to ensure that you have everything you need to paper the file and fit into the categories that you are attempting to qualify for. This also includes you will need to get your original degree, original, literally off the wall degree, as well as transcripts if possible, to show that you have completed the program and you fully qualify as an engineer because you have a degree in some sort of engineering category from school.
Please note that to be a TN visa holder, you do not need to be licensed as an engineer. So you don't need to have a PN designation in the US or even Canada to qualify, because I'm assuming your new employer would not be having you sign anything unless you are licensed. You would be doing work and somebody else in the organization would be signing your work who is regulated in the United States. But it's something that most people don't know, you don't need to be licensed, you just need the degree. Same with lawyers. I've said this before, one of my dearest friends from law school has been in the US on a TN visa for over 20 years, and every three years we renew it again, and so long as this category continues to exist and that she's working for an organization that cannot sponsor her for green card this is how she's going to continue living in the United States. So you just do it every three years. You continue to show non-immigrant intention by keeping an address, bank accounts and ties to Canada to show that you may come back, you're not here to stay in the US permanently at the initial entry, and that can change of course once you get into the United States.
We love the TM visa category at Ackah Law because we use it every day to help our clients do business and enter the United States legally. The other option that comes with the TN is if you are married, you can also get what's called a dependent visa, it's called a TD, a treaty dependent visa, for your spouse to come down and be with you during that period of time in the United States. It does not allow them to work though under the TD, they'll need to get their own work permit to qualify. But it lets them be with you for the three years you're there or however long until they get normalized. And the same with children, children can come and go to school under TD and they can be with you in the states.
The TN visa categories usually obtained at the port of entry. As I said, it could take anywhere from an hour to three hours depending on how many people are in line in front of you and how much scrutiny the officers are going to give to the application. Our job at Ackah Law is to give you the best application package possible and to prepare you so that you know what to expect, everything from how you present, how you dress, what you say, what not to say, and knowing that we are on call if needed by email or text or telephone if you need to reach us. That's one of the services we provide to ensure our clients have a smooth experience at the border.
So if you'd like to learn more about the TN professional visa category and you think this may be something that would work for you, we'd love to help you. If you're also as a working as a consultant and you have a gig in the US and you'd like to understand how you can go and work as a management consultant, we can also assist you with that under the TN category. We look forward to helping you. Give us a call to learn more about the TN visa category. Take care and have a great day. Thank you so much for joining us on LinkedIn Live, as well as the Ask Canada Immigration Lawyer Podcast. Please subscribe and share our podcast with all your friends and family a