Procedures for the classification of a Canadian citizen as a TN professional under NAFTA are substantially similar to those under the FTA. As under the FTA, Canadian professionals may enter the United States under NAFTA without the requirement of a USCIS petition approval required in the H-1 category; these professionals can enter the United States simply by providing documentation at the port of entry that they are engaged in one of the designated professions, and that they possess the requisite educational credentials to qualify in the listed profession. Canadian professionals are designated as TN-1 non-immigrants as distinguished from the TC classification under the FTA.
Preparation of the TN application
Canadian professionals seeking admission to the U.S. in the TN category must present the case for admission at the port of entry. No prior petition, labor certification, visa or other approval is required of Canadian citizens seeking admission as TN non-immigrant. The major ports of entry now have Customs and Border Protection officers designated to adjudicate NAFTA applications.
Presentation of the TN application
- Canadians seeking TN status may apply at major ports of entry, airports handling international nights, or at U.S. preclearance stations in Canada.
- Such applications are made in conjunction with applications for admission and must be filed in person.
- The Service has recently revised its field instructions to provide that ports of entry and preclearance stations can no longer accept advance filings of TN applications under NAFTA submitted by Canadians.
Family members of the TN applicant: TD non-immigrants
Under the PTA, spouses and unmarried minor children of a TN applicant were admitted to the United States as B-2 non-immigrant. NAFTA created a separate non-immigrant category for such dependents; under NAFTA, the spouse and unmarried minor children of a TN applicant who are also Canadian citizens are admitted to the United States as TD non-immigrant. No separate application needs to be made for family members and no filing fee need be paid for them. If the family members are entering the U.S. after the principal TN applicant has been admitted, they should present a certified copy of the alien’s I-94 form which was given to the alien upon admission to the United States.
Processing of the TN application, Admission, and Re-entries
- TN applications are processed in the same manner that TC applications were processed under the PTA. When the application is submitted at the port of entry with the $50 filing fee, the applicant will be given a filing receipt on Form G-211, G-711, or I-797.
- As under the FTA, admission will be granted for a one-year period, which will be indicated, along with the TN classification, on an I-94 form given to the applicant.
- The one-year period of admission is good for any number of re-entries during the one-year period.
Increased Screening at Ports of Entry
Upon seeking admission to the United States, foreign nationals should expect more thorough screening procedures at airports and other ports of entry. Visa validity and identity will be checked in DHS and other law enforcement databases. Foreign nationals will be subject to more questioning by immigration officials about immigration status, travel history, the purpose of the visit, background, employment and other issues. During re-entry, foreign nationals should be patient and answer all questions clearly. Omission or misrepresentation of information can result in denial of admission. If detained by immigration authorities, foreign nationals should note that they are not entitled to legal representation at the port of entry, but may ask for permission to contact an attorney if the need arises.
Automated entry programs for Canadian nationals
Canadian business persons are eligible to participate in a special program designed to expedite the entry of frequent business travelers at selected international airports. The Passenger Accelerated Service System (INSPASS) was initially instituted for a six-month test period, but has been extended and expanded. The program is essentially an automated immigration inspection system that eliminates the live inspection interview for frequent business travelers and significantly reduces traveler processing time.
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