US immigration: Some Canadians are eligible for TN visas

Many British Columbia professionals engage in business activities across the border. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, certain professionals qualify for TN nonimmigrant permits. They are classified as NAFTA professionals under the U. S. immigration's specially created trade and economic relationship with Canada. TN visas allow eligible professionals to engage in business activities in the United States on a temporary permit.

Professions that typically qualify for TN nonimmigrant permits include engineers, accountants, pharmacists, lawyers, teachers and scientists. To be eligible, the applicant must be a Canadian citizen whose profession qualifies him or her to practice in that capacity or take a prearranged part-time or full-time job in a United States company. It must be in a position that requires a NAFTA professional.

Canadians who qualify for TN nonimmigrant permits can enter the United States without visas. However, applicants must prove citizenship of Canada and also provide proof of the professional qualifications. Instead of visiting a U.S. consulate to apply for a TN visa, the travelling professional can present the applicable documentation to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. A letter from the prospective employer must be included with the details of the purpose and the professional capacity the Canadian citizen will fill in the United States, along with the qualifications and the intended length of stay.

British Columbia professionals can ease the process by utilizing the skills of an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer. A lawyer can answer questions and explain eligibility, applicable fees and the procedures to follow. Legal counsel can assist with gathering the required documentation to present to CBP officials. The lawyer can also represent a professional when a prospective TN employer in the United States chooses to apply for temporary entry on the Canadian professional's behalf.

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