NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA)
PROFESSIONAL VISAS

214(e)(1), (2) the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 ("Act"), Pub. L. No. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163,
8 U.S.C. 1184(e), 8 C.F.R. 214.6(a) (1998).

(c) 1999 VIKRAM BADRINATH, P.C. All rights reserved.


Introduction

The TN-1 class of professional visas were specifically authorized and created by the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA") which allows foreign nationals with Canadian or Mexican citizenship to enter the United States to engage in certain specified activities at a professional level. As defined by applicable regulations and the Immigration and Nationality Act, "activities at a professional level" are those which require "at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional." In some instances, a baccalaureate or licenciatura degree is not required and may be substituted with appropriate professional experience. The specific professional activities which may be accorded TN professional non-immigrant visa status are listed in the Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA, 8 C.F.R. section 214.6(c), include, but not limited to: accountants, architects, computer systems analysts, economists, engineer, foresters, graphic designers, hotel managers, industrial designers, interior designers, land surveyors, landscape architects, lawyer, librarians, management consultants, mathematicians, research assistants, scientific technician/technologist and scientists, social workers, urban planners, vocational counselors, dentists, dietitians, medical laboratory technicans, nutritionists, therapists, pharmacists, physicians, physiotherapists, psychologists, nurses, veterinarians, agriculturists.

The TN professional visa will allow a foreign national to engage in full-time or part-time employment for a specific employer. However, the TN visa holder is only authorized to be employed with the specific employer for which the TN visa classification was original accorded (e.g., to work for additional employers requires a separate TN approval for each employer).

Family members (such as spouses and children) accompany the TN visa holder are eligible for TD status. TD status allows such family members to reside in the United States in a lawful immigration status for the duration of the primary TN visa holder's permit. However, TD status does accord or authorize employment in the United States.

Eligibility

In order to e eligible for TN professional visa status, a foreign national must demonstrate Canadian or Mexican citizenship, an employment offer for a listed occupation at a professional level (as defined by Appendix 1603.D.1) from a United States employer, a description of the professional activities or duties, the anticipated length of stay, the educational qualifications, the arrangements for remuneration for services to be rendered, and proof that the applicant meets the requirements of the position as demonstrated by reliable credentials (licenses, diplomas, degrees, certifications, evidence of membership in professional organizations, experience letters, resumes, etc.).

The TN professional visa holder must intend to return to his home country and may not have the intent to reside permanently in the United States. The U.S. INS may require proof of the TN holder’s continuing ties to his home country before approving any request for TN professional visa status.

Duration

The TN professional visa is initially issued for a period of one (1) year. A new TN must be requested every year, but there is no limit on the number of years TN status can be granted. The TN holder, however, may be required to demonstrate that he does not have the intent to abandon his or her home country (as demonstrated by proof of family ties, property, bank accounts, credit, and other fixed roots) and intends to return at the natural expiration of the requested employ. U.S. INS officials may view repeated requests for classification as a TN professional visa holder as a indication of the TN visa holder's intention to remain in the United States as an intending "immigrant," resulting in denial of future requests.

For more information about TN-1, TD Professional Visas, please contact us by email, telephone, or fax or schedule an appointment to have your individual case discussed and analyzed by an attorney.