A special economic and trade understanding created between Mexico, Canada and United States is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Temporary entry into the United States to take on in business activities at a professional level is permitted under the TN non-immigrant classification for the eligible qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens who apply. To seek admission as TN non-immigrants the types of professionals who are eligible are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. The following steps are involved for TN visa application by Canadian citizen:
Step 1: Assembling documentation: Prior to entering the U.S. the Canadian citizen are not required to obtain a visa and hence is frequently referred to as “application for admission in TN status”. Simply assembling a TN admission package to be presented to a Border Patrol Officer at the port of entry is what a Canadian TN applicant does. Land, sea, and air ports of entry are present where the foreign national will apply for entry to the U.S. Checklist for TN visa Admission Package is as follows: • With a validity for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay in the U.S. current Canadian passport is required • $50 Filing fee plus $6 processing fee • Detailing the TN designated job classification, proposed duties, and conditions of employment including pay a job offer letter from the U.S. Company • If the applicant is coming to provide services pursuant to a pre-existing contract supplementary letters from U.S. companies • Along with a credential evaluation, if applicable, education documents or other documentation of the applicant’s professional qualifications Step 2: Presenting the TN Admission Package at a Port of Entry At major ports of entry including land-border crossings, airports handling international flights or other U.S. pre-clearance stations in Canada Canadians seeking entry in TN status can apply. To allow sufficient time for the officer to review the package documents travelers by air and sea must arrive at a preclearance station at least 2-3 hours before their departure time. Applicants are encouraged to contact the specific preclearance station prior to their travel as a NAFTA officer may not be available at all times to confirm the hours of operation what terminal they should go to, and how long before departure they should arrive. To confirm the hours of operation, Canadian TN applicants traveling by air or sea should contact the specific preclearance station prior to traveling. These applicants should then plan to arrive at the preclearance station at least 2-3 hours prior to their departure time. To confirm the availability of a NAFTA officer travelers crossing by land may also wish to call the specific port of entry prior to traveling but as there is no pressure of a departing plane or ship, the timing aspect is not as critical. A Border Patrol officer will examine the paperwork at the port of entry and may ask some questions and, if all is in order, will approve the applicant for entry. The officer may take a considerable amount of time reviewing the admission package as some of the TN designated job categories can be more complex in their requirements. To ensure that the proposed job duties are in line with a designated TN job classification and that the Canadian applicant possessed the appropriate qualifications for the job the officer will review the paperwork.
Decision on TN visa application Canadian citizen’s entry to the U.S. will be cleared if the Border Patrol agent is satisfied with the TN admission package. The foreign national will be provided with a white I-94 Arrival-Departure Card after he or she will stamp the passport and the I-94 card will be stamped with the date of entry and an expiration date showing how long the TN employee may remain in the U.S. The period of stay will generally be three years unless otherwise specified in the application documents. I-94 card should be carefully reviewed by the applicant prior to leaving the inspection station. A mistake in the class of admission and/or expiration date happens periodically by inspecting officers. Immediately at the time of entry it is easier to have the I-94 card corrected than days, weeks, or even months after the entry. The information on the card controls the foreign national’s legal status in the U.S. even if a mistake is made on the I-94 card, so it is critically important to review this information as soon as it has been noted on the I-94 card.