Posts Tagged ‘ nafta ’

Visas Under NAFTA for Certain Foreign Professionals

Posted on: September 2, 2013 by in visas
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bigstock-Attorney-At-Desk-6773160NAFTA Immigration Agreements

The North American Free Trade Agreement is a special agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico to promote free trade between these three North American countries. If you meet certain qualifications, you may be able to qualify for a TN category visa, which would allow you to live and work in the United States. In order to qualify under the TN category, you must be considered a professional of your trade or business, and must be a citizen of either Canada or Mexico.

Different Rules for Different Countries

As a Canadian citizen you are usually allowed entry into the United States as a TN nonimmigrant for employment without first needing to get a visa. However, as a Mexican citizen, you will be required to apply for a visa in order to be allowed entry into the United States as a TN nonimmigrant.

Rules for Canadian Citizens

As a Canadian citizen you will be required to provide documents at a U.S. point of entry to a United States Custom and Border Protection official. You will need proof of your Canadian citizenship, documentation from your employer stating the nature of your work, your educational credentials, your expected length of employment, and any fees that might apply to your particular situation. Keep in mind that this is a short list of documents and information you may need to provide. The United States Custom and Border Protection may, at its discretion, require additional documents or information in order to grant you access to the country under a TN visa. Your employer, however, can file certain forms on your behalf that may speed up the whole process.

Rules for Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens must acquire a TN nonimmigrant visa before they arrive at a U.S. port of entry, as Mexican citizens are not allowed to apply for the visa “on the spot.”  As a Mexican citizen, you can apply for this type of visa at a United States embassy or consulate in Mexico.

Mexican citizens are initially granted up to three years to remain in the country as a TN nonimmigrant worker. Before your TN nonimmigrant worker visa expires your employer can apply for an extension so that you may continue working in the United States legally, but keeping track of your status and visa expiration date is very important and will fall entirely on your shoulders. In other words, if you allow a visa to expire while you are still in the United States, you alone will face the consequences which the United States government may deem appropriate – up to and including deportation.

Seeking Legal Help

This has been a short overview for professional workers of Canada and Mexico who wish to seek entry into the United States as a professional under a TN visa. There are many factors involved to be able to properly apply for and ultimately be granted a visa, so it is highly advised that you contact an attorney who regularly practices immigration law to make sure your visa application process goes as good as possible.

Visa Information for Canadians and Mexicans

Posted on: August 7, 2013 by in visas
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bigstock-Citizenship-documents-43205116Individuals from the countries of Mexico and Canada who wish to live and work in the United States for a period of up to three years and who have no present desire to become a permanent American resident or citizen have a special option available to them when it comes to U.S. visas. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which facilitates and promotes free commercial trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, Canadian and Mexican citizens can apply for a TN nonimmigrant validation so they may remain in the U.S. legally while they engage in commercial activity.

In order to qualify for a TN nonimmigrant visa, the Canadian or Mexican citizen must already have full or part time employment secured, must have some kind of professional qualification, and must not intend on working in a “self employed” capacity. The government does allow individuals to apply for a TN visa as a business visitor if the person is engaged in a research / design, manufacturing / production, sales / marketing, or distribution / general services capacity.

Rules Differ by Country

While both citizens of Canada and Mexico are allowed to apply for a TN visa, Mexican citizens must apply for the validation differently than Canadian citizens. Citizens of Canada are allowed to request a TN non-immigrant visa at any American port of entry assuming the citizen can provide documentation as evidence of his or her TN eligibility. Citizens of Mexico are not allowed to request TN non-immigrant visa admission from any port of entry, and must first apply for the TN validation at the nearest American embassy or consulate in Mexico before they attempt to enter the country through a U.S. port of entry.

Notes on Non-immigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant visas like TN visas, tourist visas, student visas and business visas, are issued for a temporary time to individuals who do not intend on actually remaining in the U.S. indefinitely. Nonimmigrant visas are attached to an expiration date which represents the final day that a visa will work to allow an individual to remain in the U.S. Remaining in the United States on an expired nonimmigrant visa is considered a violation of immigration law and exposes the holder of the expired validation to the risk of deportation. If they would like to remain in the country as a lawful permanent resident, then foreign citizens should focus instead on getting a green card, which would grant lawful permanent resident status.

However, there are many cases of individuals who travel to the United States on a nonimmigrant validation who later decide that they don’t want to leave. In this case, a current holder of a nonimmigrant visa can apply for a green card from within the United States and, in some cases, can receive a decision from the government on their request before an initial nonimmigrant visa expires – of course, several factors can affect whether or not this actually happens.

For information on obtaining a TN nonimmigrant validation or for upgrading to lawful permanent resident status, foreign citizens are urged to speak with an experienced immigration attorney for advice and guidance.