Canadians can often gain entry to the US with greater ease than others; this preferential treatment for Canadians is linked to treaty provisions within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While there are many NAFTA related visas, the most useful one is the TN-1. The TN-1 visa was modelled on the H1B; it may only be used where the employer is based in the US, and the candidate is a professional in one of the categories listed on below.
The TN-1 visa has the following advantages over the H1-B:
It is granted for 3 years, but can continue to be renewed indefinitely.
It can be applied for at the border with the US, and is usually granted immediately.
The documentary requirements and procedure is far less burdensome than the H1B visa.
TN-1 Visa basic requirements
Prospective TN-1 visa applicants must meet the following basic requirements, they must:
Be a Canadian citizen
Have a US job offer in an eligible profession (see below) which requires someone with their professional skills
Meet the educational or qualification requirements for the job
Applications for the TN-1 Visa
The TN-1 is granted for a specific employer. If needed for more than one employer, multiple TN-1 applications need to be made. Self-employed professionals would not be able to come under this particular visa category, and may consider the E-2 Treaty Investor category instead.
While it is possible to apply under the TN-1 visa with minimal documentation, it is prudent for candidates to arm themselves with the following documents at the border with the US:
A description of the position from the US employer, confirming that the position is temporary and it's expected duration, and including full details of why it is a professional occupation. This should also confirm that the candidate will be a direct employee, and state the salary level. Further, some information about the nature of the employer's business should be included.
Proof of the candidate's qualifications, including, where appropriate, confirmation of the US equivalency of any foreign qualifications. This confirmation is generally obtained by a qualified credentials evaluator or US academic, and must be accompanied by verbatim translations of any certificates/transcripts in languages other than English.
A copy of the candidate's resume (curriculum vitae).
The original Canadian passport (if applicable), and, if relevant, copies of the candidate's previous passports, visa stamps, and I-94s.
Details of the candidate's Social Security Number (if applicable)
Details of the candidate's foreign address
A copy of the employment contract.
Details of the employing company, including proof of ability to pay the wages offered.
If relevant, a license enabling the candidate to work in the US.
Eligible professions for TN 1 Visas
The full list of eligibile TN-1 professions, as well as the qualifications required for each, can be found here.
Further information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the US. All applications for US visas are dealt with in-house by a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).