If you are a professional worker, you have a lot of options when it comes to applying for a visa. EB-1, H-1B, and E-2 are just a few of the many visas available to you. The Phillip Kim Law Center seeks to educate you and let you know what options are available to you so you can take the right steps towards getting a visa and possibly citizenship.
This article will cover one type of professional worker status visa, the TN NAFTA Professionals visa. This visa is based on the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Alliance). It is a non-immigrant status visa that allows Canadian citizens to work in a business activity in the United States.
To be eligible for this type of visa, your profession must meet the requirements. First, your profession must be one that is on the NAFTA List: professions like accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
Secondly, the job you are going to do must require a NAFTA professional. Lastly, your position must be for a U.S. employer, for a position that is pre-arranged. You cannot pursue self-employment in the U.S.
There are other requirements you must meet: you must be a Canadian citizen (permanent residents are not eligible) and you must meet the qualifications of the profession.
The NAFTA agreement applies to Canadians and Mexicans. While Mexican citizens need a visa to come to the U.S. through TN NAFTA status, Canadians do not need to obtain a visa before coming to the U.S. If you still want a visa for documentation purposes, you can apply for one when you enter the U.S. Just apply at the port of entry.
But, if you are living in another country besides Canada and you want to bring your non-Canadian spouse or children with you, you will need to get a visa so that your family can eventually get TD-Visas (visas for the family of NAFTA professionals).
In order to apply, go to your consular office. If you are between the ages of 14-79, you will need to attend an interview. Make an interview appointment but be aware that there is a wait-time. In Canada the wait time usually lasts up to 2 days. They will conduct electronic fingerprinting at the interview as well so be prepared to submit that for an identity check.
Once you are in the U.S., you can stay with non-immigrant TN NAFTA status for up to 3 years. The cost of applying is $140. You can also apply for your family (spouse and children under the age of 21) to obtain TD visas. Having a TD visa will be beneficial to your family because they will be allowed to stay with you while you are in the U.S.
You will be required to submit extensive documentation with your application. Each case is different and unique. If you would like more information about your personal case, contact specialized Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.