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Inequalities between Mexicans and Canadians with the TN Visa

“There are inequities between Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens where Canadians can apply for a TN visa (Free Trade) at the border at the time of application for admission while Mexicans need to apply at the US Consulate.”

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. This includes the TN visa (Free Trade).

The TN non-immigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN non-immigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. You may be eligible for TN non-immigrant status, if:

· You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;

· Your profession qualifies under the regulations;

· The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;

· You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment - see documentation required below); and

· You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.

However, there are inequities between Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens. Unlike Mexican citizens, Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a TN visa at a U.S. consulate.

Canadians may establish eligibility for TN classification at the border by presenting required documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.

Mexican citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN non-immigrant. They must apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. Once approved for a TN visa, they may then apply for admission at the CBP entry points. A CBP officer then determines if the application is eligible and then can admits the person as a TN non-immigrant.

In addition, there is an annual TN visa limit for Mexicans of 5,500. The labor condition application, approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, must accompany the TN visa application, and the application's supporting documentation requirements are more rigorous than required for Canadians.

These inequalities can make it unfair and difficult for Mexican citizens to obtain the TN visa.

Some have run into problems at particular border crossings with officers who question their documents.

If applying for a TN visa, it is important to ensure your application and process is streamlined and all documentation is clear and precise.

Margaret W. Wong & Associates Co., LPA can assist in any questions or problems regarding your TB visa.

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