If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen, you may apply for a work visa in the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These visas are called TN visas, and are issued to people with professional qualifications who want to seek temporary work in the U.S. Citizens of Canada are granted TN-1 Visas, while Mexican citizens may qualify for TN-2 visas.
To obtain a TN visa, professionals must demonstrate that they have foreign degrees that are the U.S. equivalencies of a Bachelor Degree for most fields. In certain areas, such as computer science, an Associate Degree plus two years of work experience equivalency may be substituted for a four-year degree. The equivalency must be determined through the completion of a foreign education credentials evaluation completed by a foreign education credentials evaluation agency accepted or approved by the USCIS.
In addition to a foreign credentials evaluation that demonstrates adequate professional qualifications, however, the applicant has to provide strong documentation that he or she intends to remain in the United States only temporarily. That is because the USCIS presumes that any person who is a citizen of a foreign country who is entering the United States is doing so with the intent to remain there permanently. Although a person may express a possible future intent to immigrate, it must not be during the length of the TN visa.
People can offer many different types of evidence that they do not intend to immigrate permanently to the United States. Some examples of supporting evidence include the ownership of property in one’s country of citizenship or the presence of other family members who are not accompanying the professional to the United States. In addition, the request for a visa of less than 1 year’s duration is usually considered sufficient to indicate temporary, rather than permanent, employment in the U.S.
Interested professionals may apply for TN visas in a variety of professional occupations. Scientists, such as biologists or zoologists, as well as healthcare workers, including Registered Nurses or Physicians, are eligible to apply for TN visas. Individuals who hold foreign degrees in healthcare fields, however, must also possess documentation that they possess government-issued licenses to practice.
Furthermore, four types of workers – nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and medical technologists- must maintain a health care worker certification. This certification must demonstrate that the person’s education and licensure are comparable to the U.S. equivalencies required for that profession, and that the individual submitting the application speaks English to a competent level as determined by a standardized test.
If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen seeking a TN visa, seek an experienced attorney who handles non-immigrant visa applications regularly. Get a foreign credentials education evaluation from a responsible, experienced agency. Last, make it clear to the immigration official that you understand that this is a temporary, rather than a permanent, work assignment.