NAFTA Visa – Temporary Professional Work in the USA (Canada/Mexico)

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The US, along with Canada and Mexico, forged the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in an effort to improve ties across the Americas. In addition to its benefits for commerce and the economy, this agreement offers advantages for travel and employment via NAFTA visas. To be more precise, the US established the Treaty National Professionals Visa, sometimes known as the TN Visa, to let nationals of Canada and Mexico to temporarily reside and work in the US.

TN Visa: What is it?

As a non-immigrant visa to the US, holders of the TN Visa are required to return to their home countries after the visa expires. If they obtain employment beforehand, TN visa Mexico and Canada only permits nationals of Canada and Mexico, not permanent residents, to work in the US. The agreement outlines the kinds of employment and professions that holders of TN visas are permitted to pursue. Mexicans and Canadians are qualified to work in about 63 different vocations. Teachers, scientists, engineers, and attorneys are a few examples of them. Go to the NAFTA website to see whether you meet the requirements for any of the professions.

There are some distinctions between the H-1B visa and the TN Visa USA, but overall they are rather comparable. First off, a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor is not necessary for companies in the TN. This indicates that there are no criteria for a prevailing wage established by the US or other restrictions on the workplace. This depends on what the employee and employer agree upon.

NAFTA Visa - Temporary

Secondly, sponsorship is not required. Because of this, the costs to the business and employee are quite minimal. With the exception of the $1,225 premium processing cost and the Form I-129 petition fee, the employer is exempt from paying the fees specified in the H-1B visa.

Thirdly, the TN visa has no upper limit. The TN visa has no upper restriction, while the H-1B visa has a ceiling of 65,000 individuals who can enter the US with that visa. This implies that anyone who meets the qualifications and is a citizen of Canada or Mexico is eligible to apply for a TN visa.

TN visas come in two varieties according to nationality:

  • The visa for Canadian nationals is TN-1.
  • The visa for Mexican nationals is TN-2.

Prerequisites for a TN visa

Obtaining a TN visa requires meeting specific standards. In addition to the standard prerequisites of education and job experience, health care personnel often have additional qualifications.

General requirements

Generally speaking, in order to be eligible for a TN visa, an individual must fulfil these requirements:

  • The following requirements must be met: the applicant must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • Their occupation must be on the NAFTA list;
  • They must have a full- or part-time job offer from a US employer;
  • The job offer must specifically state that it requires a NAFTA professional;
  • The applicant must meet all experience and educational requirements;
  • The candidate needs to show that they intend to go back home after their visa expires.

Educational and Experience Requirements

The NAFTA jobs list contains the necessary educational qualifications. The majority of them demand a bachelor’s degree or above.  For your degree to be recognized in the US if it was obtained outside of the country, you will need to notarize and validate it. Work experience cannot be used to replace the degree.

Furthermore, many of them have experience requirements of at least three years that cannot be met by obtaining further degrees in school. You must include reference letters from previous employers attesting to your employment there, together with information about your position, in order to demonstrate your work experience.

For jobs that need licensing, you can opt not to initially provide documentation of your license; but, if you decide to work in the US in that particular profession, you will need to submit your license to the appropriate US agencies. Most health care vocations are included in this.

Certifications in Healthcare

In the US, there are certification requirements for anyone who wish to work in the healthcare industry. The certification is required to confirm that the individual possesses the essential experience mandated by the US health care system, as well as having completed the relevant courses and degrees. Furthermore, it confirms if the individual is in possession of a license and whether their level of English proficiency is appropriate. The following TN visa jobs call for this certification:

  • Registered Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Medical Technologists

For non-clinical health care employment and physicians, the qualification is not required. The following organizations provide this certification to those who wish to get it:

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT), and the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School (CGFNS)

NAFTA Visa - Temporary

Your certification will need to be renewed after its initial five-year period.

TN-1 Visa

Canadian nationals can work as NAFTA professionals in the US using the TN-1 Visa. Canadian nationals might decide not to apply for the TN visa once they obtain employment because they often do not require a visa to enter the US. Rather, they will get the TN certifications in Pre-Flight Inspection Offices or at particular US airport Ports of Entry. Canadian nationals need to present these documents in order to be allowed entry into the nation on a TN visa at the Port of Entry or the Pre-Flight Inspection.

  • Evidence of your citizenship in Canada
  • Documentation proving you are employed in the United States, including job title, position title, duration of work, educational background, and job description;
  • If entering through the port of entry, $56
  • $50 is required if undergoing Pre-Flight Inspection.

Your company must pay $460 to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, if you decide to get a TN visa prior to your arrival in the US. Remember that the USCIS procedure will take several months, but for an extra $1,225, you may choose Premium procedure.

Subsequently, you can present your authorized Form I-129 and evidence of citizenship at the US Port of Entry.

TN-2 Visa

For Mexican nationals who wish to work as NAFTA professionals in the US, there is a visa called TN-2. Mexican nationals cannot just get the qualification at US ports of entry, unlike their Canadian counterparts, who must apply for a TN visa at US Embassies.

NAFTA Visa - Temporary

TN Visa Application

The procedures below must be followed in order to apply for a TN visa:

  • Submit Form DS-160 online to obtain the code and confirmation page.
  • Pay any additional relevant costs as well as the $160 visa application fee (only for nationals of Mexico). Set up your visa interview and obtain the letter confirming the appointment.
  • Send in a file containing these records:
  • A passport that will still be valid six months after your trip to the US is over;
  • The DS-160 confirmation page; one photo taken with a US visa; receipts attesting to your payment of costs;
  • A letter from your employer confirming that you work in the United States and providing the following information:
      • The occupation you’re going to choose
      • Job description
      • Educational and experience qualifications
      • Contract length
      • Your financial salary/compensation
      • Any applicable licenses

Attend your interview where questions about your history, your purpose for visiting the US, and specifics about your employment will be asked.

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