IMMIGRATION: TN and other Trade NAFTA Related Visas

NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

"NAFTA"

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which became effective January 1, 1994, contains immigration provisions to facilitate the entry of temporary business personnel into the United States, Canada and Mexico. While the main advantage of NAFTA is the easily obtainable TN visa, the B-1, E-1, E-2, H-1B, and L-1 categories are also proceduraly affected.

Below we have provided Appendix 1603.D.1 and the minimum requirements for qualification for each qualifying occupation under NAFTA. Occupations not listed do not qualify for TN visa status.

For purposes of entry into the United States, NAFTA sets forth five types of business categories:

          B-1 - Vistors for business
          E-1 or E-2 - Treaty Visas
          L-1 - Intracompany Transferees
          H-1B - Specialty Occupations
         TN - Trade NAFTA Visa

In each case, the applicant must show proof of Canadian or Mexican citizenship. Business visitors in the "B-1" category must show proof of a permanent residence abroad, remuneration from a source outside the United States, and that the person will not be engaged in productive employment in the United States.

Canadians do not need visas for TN, H-1B, or L-1 status, but Mexican nationals do. Canadians apply directly at the Port of Entry, while Mexican nationals need to go to the nearest U.S. Consulate in Mexico.

Both Mexican and Canadian Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors (E-1 or E-2) must obtain visas at the appropriate U.S. Consulate.

Canadian citizens may apply for TN, H-1B and L-1 visas in the U.S. or may apply directly at the Port of Entry. Employers of Mexican Nationals, however, must first obtain an approved petition in the United States, then the foreign worker must obtain the visa from the approriate U.S. Consulate in Mexico.

If there is a strike or labor dispute at the intended place of employment admission can be denied. Employment of Canadians or Mexicans under NAFTA during a labor dispute is specifically prohibited.

NAFTA contains a schedule of qualified "professions" which qualify for a "Trade Nafta" visa (TN). These professions require a university degree, experience and/or a license to perform the services of the profession. Self-employment is precluded in this category.

TN status is valid for one year and are renewable annually. TN status requires the maintenance of a permanent residence abroad. TN visa holders are not allowed "dual intent", that is, intending to be a nonimmigrant, while at the same time pursuing an application for U.S. permanent residence with the intent of becoming a permanent resident of the United States.

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NAFTA: What You Should Know to Make Business Travel Easier

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA UNDER THE
NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA)

          1. You must be a citizen of either Canada or Mexico.

          2. You must prove admissibility under all existing
              United States immigration laws.

          3. You must establish that you qualify as a visitor
              for business, a treaty trader or investor, an 
              intracompany transferee, or a professional.

DEFINITIONS:

1. Visitor for business: A person engaged in international business activities related to research and design, growth, manufacture and production, marketing, sales, distribution, after-sales service, and other general services reflecting the activities in a complete business cycle,
and receiving no remuneration from a United States source.

2. Treaty Trader: A person coming to carry on substantial trade involving the flow of goods or services principally between the United States and Canada or between the United States and Mexico. Over 50% of the international trade must be conducted between the United States and the treaty country. The Treaty Trader must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico. An employee of a trader may also qualify as a treaty trader if he or she is entering the United States in an executive or supervisory capacity; or, if employed in a lesser capacity, the employee must have skills which are essential to the efficient operation of the business. Issuance of a nonimmigrant visa is required prior to entry of both Canadians and Mexicans in this classification.

3. Treaty Investor: A citizen of either Canada or Mexico who is coming
to the United States to develop and direct a bona fide enterprise in which they have made a substantial investment of capital and, thereby, own at least 50% or maintain
a controlling interest. The employee of a treaty investor who will be employed in an executive or supervisory capacity,
or who has skills which are essential to the operation of the business, may also be classified as a treaty investor. Issuance of a nonimmigrant visa is required prior to entry of both Canadians and Mexicans in this classification.

4. Intracompany transferee: A person coming to a United States parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of a foreign company. The person must have been employed abroad by the foreign company for at least one year out of the preceding three in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. He or she must be coming to the United States for the purpose of employment in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. A petition must be filed in behalf of the intracompany transferee on Form 1-129 by either the United States or the foreign employer.

5. Professional: An alien who is a citizen of Canada or Mexico who seeks to enter the United States under and pursuant to the provisions of Section D of Annex 1603 of the North American Free Trade Agreement to engage in business activities at a professional level.

6. Dependents: The spouse and children of the E - Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor are granted E status just like the principal but are not authorized employment. The spouse and children of an Intracompany Transferee are classified L-2 and may not work. The spouse and children of a professional alien are classified TD for Trade Dependent and are not authorized to accept employment.

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Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA

NAFTA OCCUPATIONS

Pursuant to the NAFTA, an applicant seeking admission under this section shall demonstrate business activity at a professional level in one of the professions set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1
to Annex 1603.

The professions in Appendix 1603.D.1 and the minimum requirements for qualification for
each are:

Accountant -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.

Architect -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

Computer Systems Analyst -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate and three years' experience.

Disaster relief insurance claims adjuster (claims adjuster employed by an insurance company located in the territory of a Party, or an independent claims adjuster) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance
adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and
successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to
disaster relief claims.

Economist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Engineer -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license

Forester -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license

Graphic Designer -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or
Post-Secondary Certificate and three years experience.

Hotel Manager -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree in hotel/restaurant management; or
Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate in hotel/restaurant management and
three years experience in hotel/restaurant management.

Industrial Designer -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or
Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

Interior Designer -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or
Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

Land Surveyor -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or state/provincial/federal license.

Landscape Architect
-- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec) -- L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., or
Licenciatura degree (five years); or membership in a state/provincial bar.

Librarian -- M.L.S., or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree
was a prerequisite).

Management Consultant -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant, or five years experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement.

Mathematician (including Statistician) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Range Manager/Range Conservationist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Scientific Technician/Technologist -- Possession of (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research.

Social Worker -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Technical Publications Writer -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree, or Post-Secondary
Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

Urban Planner (including Geographer) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Vocational Counselor -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

MEDICAL/ALLIED PROFESSIONALS

Dentist -- D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia or Doctor en Cirugia Dental or
state/provincial license.

Dietitian -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)/Medical Technologist (Mexico and the United States) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.

Nutritionist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Occupational Therapist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree;
or state/provincial license.

Pharmacist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.

Physician (teaching or research only) -- M.D. Doctor en Medicina; }
or state/provincial license.

Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree;
or state/provincial license.

Psychologist -- state/provincial license; or Licenciatura Degree.

Recreational Therapist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Registered Nurse -- State/provincial license or Licenciatura Degree.

Veterinarian -- D.V.M., D.M.V., or Doctor en Veterinaria; or state/provincial license.

SCIENTIST

Agriculturist (including Agronomist) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Animal Breeder -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Animal Scientist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Apiculturist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Astronomer -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Biochemist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Biologist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Chemist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Dairy Scientist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Entomologist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Epidemiologist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Geneticist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Geochemist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Geologist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico and the United States) -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Horticulturist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Meteorologist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Pharmacologist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada) -- Baccalaureate or
Licenciatura Degree.

Plant Breeder -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Poultry Scientist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Soil Scientist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Zoologist -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

TEACHER

College -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree. Seminary -- Baccalaureate or
Licenciatura Degree.

University -- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree. ________________________________________________________________

1/ A business person seeking temporary employment under this Appendix may also perform training functions relating to the profession, including conducting seminars.

2/ The terms "state/provincial" and "state/provincial/federal license" mean any document issued by a state, provincial, or federal government, as the case may be, or under its authority, but not by a local government,
that permits a person to engage in a regulated activity or profession.

3/ "Post Secondary Diploma" means a credential issued, on completion of two or more years of post secondary education, by an accredited academic institution in Canada or the United States.

4/ "Post Secondary Certificate" means a certificate issued, on completion of two or more years of post secondary education at an academic institution, by the federal government of Mexico or a state government in Mexico, an academic institution recognized by the federal government or a state government, or academic institution created by federal or state law.

5/ A business person in this category must be seeking temporary entry for work in direct support of professionals in agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology or physics.

6/ A business person in this category must be seeking temporary entry to perform in a laboratory chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic or bacteriological tests and analyses for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of diseases.

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We advise consulting a qualified immigration lawyer
for assistance with Trade NAFTA visas.

Please see our Contact Page for our email address.

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