In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what you can do if your TN visa is denied.
What is a TN Visa?
First, let’s discuss what a TN Visa is, who qualifies, and what the process is like to apply.
The TN Visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
What are the requirements?
In order to be eligible to apply for a TN visa, the applicant must:
- Be a Citizen of Canada or Mexico
- Apply to work in a profession authorized by NAFTA.For a complete list of authorized professions click here.
- Fill an approved position under NAFTA regulations
- Work in a pre-arranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer
- Have the qualifications required for the position sought.
- Educational requirement: The employer must submit proof that the applicant meets the minimum education requirements or has the alternative credentials as required by NAFTA. Evidence of professional qualifications may include copies of degrees, certificates, diplomas, professional licenses, or membership in a professional organization. Degrees, diplomas, and certificates from an educational institution outside of the U.S. must be accompanied by an evaluation by a credential evaluation service specializing in evaluating foreign academic credentials.
- Work Experience Requirement: The applicant must provide evidence of his or her experience in the position sought (recommendation letters from former employers).
- Provide proof of ties to your home country
Canadian citizens may apply for a TN visa at a U.S. port of entry providing the following supporting documentation:
- Request for admission under TN status to Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. immigration officer;
- Employment Letter – Evidence of professional employment;
- Proof of professional qualifications, such as transcripts of grades, licenses, certificates, degrees, and/or records of previous employment;
- Proof of ability to meet applicable license requirements;
- Proof of Canadian citizenship- Canadian citizens may present a passport, as visas are not required, or they may provide secondary evidence, such as a birth certificate. However, Canadian citizens traveling to the United States from outside the Western Hemisphere are required to present a valid passport at the port-of-entry;
Mexican citizens may apply at consular sections for a TN visa. An interview is required for most TN visa applicants by appointment.
The following documentation must be provided at the time of the interview
- An application, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160, completed and signed.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States.
- One (1) 2×2 photograph. A photograph is not required if you are applying in Mexico.
- Letter of employment in the United States. The letter must indicate that the position in question in the U.S. which requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity, consistent with the NAFTA Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Appendix 1603.d.1. The employment letter should contain a detailed description of the business activities, the activity in which the applicant will be engaged, the purpose of the entry, educational qualifications or appropriate credentials demonstrating professional status, evidence of compliance with DHS regulations, arrangements for pay, and proof of licensure if applicable.
- Evidence that the applicant’s stay will be for a temporary period that does not equate to permanent residence in the United States.
- Evidence of Professional Employment in a pre-arranged business activity for a U.S. employer authorized under the NAFTA program.
- Evidence of Qualifications for the position
Length of Stay
A TN applicant may remain in the U.S. for an initial period of 3 years. Extensions of stay are granted in amounts of one year. There is no limit on the number of years a TN visa holder can stay in the United States.
The following professionals can apply for a TN Visa: Accountants, Architects, Computer Systems Analysts, Economists, Engineers, Graphic Designers, Hotel Managers, Industrial Designers, Interior Designers, Lawyers, Mathematicians, Research Assistants, Social Workers, Dentists, Medical Laboratory Technologists, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, Physicians, Psychologists, Nurses, Teachers and more. Most of these positions require a Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree. Click here for a list of authorized professions http://www.nafsa.org/_/file/_/amresource/8cfr2146.htm
Recently TN visas have been denied for applications seeking a position as managers, consultants, economists, and technical writers. In order to overcome a TN visa denial, you must first understand why your application for a TN visa was denied. Do not argue with the officer regarding their decision to deny your application. Simply understand why you were not approved and re-apply on a later date.
In most cases where the applicant has been denied, the officer may not have been convinced that there exists a sufficient link between the applicant’s qualifications and the position sought. For example, if the job description does not match the applicant’s qualifications and/or experience, the officer will not approve the application.
In a management consultant application, it is very important to show the actual need for the job with documentary evidence. For example, if the U.S. employer is expanding or going through a financial crisis, the employer should prepare a detailed letter describing the actual need for the TN visa worker. For a management consultant position the employment period should be limited to a period of 6 months to 1 year. If additional time is needed, the applicant may file an extension.
If you are denied, remember that you can return and cure any defects in your application, and re-apply. If you lie to the immigration officer or misrepresent the truth, then you may be barred from the United States for a period of 5 years. If you are not eligible for the TN visa, then do not re-apply. Find alternative visa options that are right for you.
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