Common TN Visa Mistakes to Avoid

All questions and topics related to US work visas, immigration, etc should be posted here.

Was this helpful?

Total votes : 25

dannykoolSuper Member
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:10 am
Location: Europe

Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:17 am

eddycurrents wrote:Another note: always bring originals. USCIS has 5 copies now of my engineering degree. It has not and will never change, yet every time I get a TN visa they want the original. Otherwise, rejected.

When I got my first TN, the temporary status was not an issue. This last time I got a big hassle about it. They wanted to know where I lived while I was in Canada. I said I had no home in Canada, my home was in the US -- wrong answer.

So we are supposed to keep a house in Canada, and pay mortgage and taxes on it, which means we can't get non-resident status, which means we have to pay Canadian taxes on top of the US taxes. Seriously.

Worst of all, you cannot go from TN to green card. That is against the rules. You must get an H1 visa first. However, there are only a few H1s available every year. We tried to get one, but couldn't. So we are stuck with TN. theoretically, forever.

Our immigration lawyer says he found some kind of loophole, but I am not so sure about it. We have been waiting 2 years for our green cards with no end in sight.

Working on a TN visa is precarious. You are considered a visitor, no matter how many TNs you get (I am on my 5th). Even if you buy a house and have nowhere else to live, you are still a visitor. You can't do any job other than what is on your TN. If you lose your job, you have 30 days to find another, or you have to leave the country. If you want to find another job, you need another TN. Basically, you are a hostage of your company and the US government.

We are hard working, honest, we pay our taxes and spend our money locally. Yet the US government makes us feel unwelcome at every opportunity, especially every year when we have to get another TN.

My advice about TN visa is -- don't. If you have any designs on staying in the US for a while, insist your company get you an H1. That is, of course, if you can. If you are forced to work under TN, well. don't make any long term plans.


I think the post above is really good. One cannot make long-term plans on TN and it is pretty precarious, I agree. I also don't understand the fact that one is not entitled to any unemployment benefits at all and to top it off, one has to scramble to just stay in the country if one loses the job.

After paying all those US taxes, why get treated like this ? There's got to be a better option !
dannykoolSuper Member
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:10 am
Location: Europe

Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:24 am

And another thing -- if your TN visa application is rejected, they won't let you into the country even on a 14 day visitor visa. I have been told this by 2 customs officers who nearly rejected my application. The reason is simple -- they know I will be going to work. So if your annual TN visa application is rejected at the border, you are stuck in Canada. You can't go to your home or job in the US. What happens then I have no idea and no desire to find out.


This seems to be a bizarre thing. If your TN is denied, they can even deny you entry on business visits.and if on a TN, what happens to the apt./house in US ? One should find out.
dannykoolSuper Member
Posts: 144
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:10 am
Location: Europe


Post Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:20 am

Mr. Rizzo has clarified it very well.
saikrishnaCanuckAbroad Regular
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:50 pm
Location: U.S.

TN Job Specification

Post Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:28 pm

Hello All:

My employer hired a law firm to create my TN documents. The position is Statistical Programmer which essentially needs a degree in Statistics/Math which I have. On the NAFTA list the occupation specified is Mathematician.

The law firm prepared the letter for me to take to the border saying that the position is Statistical Programmer (Mathematician).

Will this be okay or would it be a problem?

Any input is much appreciated. Thank you all.


eddycurrentsCanuckAbroad Regular
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:38 pm

Post Mon May 12, 2008 12:47 pm

Yes, this will be a problem. Make sure your position title matches a NAFTA classification *exactly*. While processing my last TN, the customs agent told me he rejected someone's TN application because he couldn't tell if the title in his offer letter was the same as the one in the NAFTA rules.

I believe many are looking for any excuse to reject a TN now, but disregarding that -- look at it from their perspective. How are they supposed to know if a Statistical Programmer is the same as a Mathematician? Sticking the title at the end looks suspect. Keep it simple for them.

"Mr. Rizzo has clarified it very well."

With respect to Mr. Rizzo, he is wrong. I have read the rules and they were explained to me by a customs agent and two different sets of immigration lawyers. I'm also going by several years of personal experience and stories of others.

Saying "the motive is to earn extra legal fees", well, what business is Mr. Rizzo in? Isn't his motive just as suspect?

(1) You can't go directly from TN to green card. Applying for TN status implies you have no intent to stick around. If after a couple of years you want to get a green card, you are going against the intent of TN.

There are two independent tracks: H1B -> green card, and TN -> TN. The second track was never intended to supplant the first.

That being said, yes there is a way to go from TN -> green card. It is, my lawyer assures me, also perfectly legal. Talk to your lawyer. You didn't hear it from me.

Anyhow, it is *much* safer to start down track #1, if you can. Big businesses are pressuring the US government to increase the cap on H1B's (even Bill Gates has gotten into the act) so maybe there is some hope there.

(2) In the spirit of temporary status, you are supposed to maintain a Canadian residence. This is proof that you intend to move back to Canada. This rule is completely unreasonable, and for years they looked the other way on this one, but the times they are a-changing.

I got a major hassle last year and one of my colleagues got a bigger hassle this year. She was denied entry for a few days while our lawyers hashed it out.

My wife's lawyers usually renew her TN by mail. It seems by far to be the safest option. It saves you from the stress at the border and if you are denied, at least you aren't stuck at the airport.

Some people get lucky at the border and have no trouble. Some people are unlucky. The border crossing as well seems to make a difference. Ironically, the borders that see a lot of TN's seem to be the worst. My wife renewed in Chicago two years ago after coming back from Australia and had no problems.

It's a crapshoot. How long can you roll the dice and keep getting sevens?

Another thought: Clinton, Obama, and McCain promising to revisit NAFTA. They are talking mostly about Mexico, but US automakers moved some plants to Canada too.

So stay off the TN treadmill if you can. Before I jumped on it, I didn't know any better and neither did my company. TNs are made for short term employment and many customs agents are now pushing that fact.

Next time I get a hassle from a US customs agent, I might try saying "look buster, I pay your salary" but that's just not the Canadian way.
kruugsNew Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:59 pm
Location: Canada

Post Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:17 pm


First off, this forum has been very useful and full of great info. So thank you!

Here's my question/situation

I will be applying for my TN Status soon. It will be about 5 weeks before my job will actually begin. I spoke with the Supervising Officer at the border crossing already and asked him if I can apply for the TN Status earlier, and then live back in Canada at home for next 3-4 weeks, until I have to leave for the job in the US. He said that's not breaking any rules, but the down side is that it will expire one year from that date I apply. But my job is only 5 months anyways, in which I will then be returning back to Canada.

This Officer was very kind to deal with over the phone and said to ask for him if anyone gives me trouble with this situation when I apply.

I am optimistic, but I can't help but still be skeptical. Does anyone have experience with this type of situation or obtaining the TN early?

Thank you!
audshellNew Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:39 am
Location: Toronto

Obtaining TV VISA

Post Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:45 am

I am an Audiologist who graduated in the US. I am a Canadian citizen and this will be my first time applying for the TN visa.

What documents should I present with me at the border?
Also, I read in this forum I can go to Pearson as well?

I am currently going through the VISA screen process through CGNFS. I do not see the title of Audiologist under the NAFTA job titles; should this be a concern?

Are there any sample sites where job letters are shown?

Please advise.
CanPTNew Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:52 pm
Location: Ontario

Post Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:38 pm

As health care workers we have different requirements (the visascreen process).
Douments at border:
* Proof of citizenship (Canadian, Mexican or U.S)
* Letter from your prospective employer
* Job Title and detailed summary of your duties (job description)
* Proof employment will be temporary; no more than 1 year
* Arrangement of payment for your services
* Proof you possess the required NAFTA Occupation credentials
* Filing fee - $50 USD (price at the time of this publication)
* Form I94 fee - $6 USD (price at the time of this publication)
.I would assume the VISASCREEN certificate would cover you.
Im not sure about Speech/Audiology not being on NAFTA list of professions, that surprises me a lot. OT/PT & SLP are so interconnected! From the CGFNS website it seems it depends on your educational credentials for SLP. Also sent you a message.
audshellNew Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:39 am
Location: Toronto


Post Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:46 am

Hi CanPT,

Your post was very helpful.

I am keeping my fingers crossed, I am waiting for my VISA SCREEN to be complete.

I got my state license though.

I hope that the visa screen is pretty strong and helpful for obtaining the TN.
heyzeusNew Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:02 pm
Location: Ontario

Post Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:14 pm

Quick question regarding what qualifies as proof of education.

I will officially graduate (i.e. get a degree) at the end of October, but I start work in mid-September. My school is able to provide me with a letter stating that I have meet the requirements of my degree for when I cross the border (can also provide transcripts and such).

Would the officers accept this as proof of my education or would they need a physical degree?

Did you enjoy this post? Share it!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 0 guests