This week our firm encountered an interesting issue. A client from Canada came to our office under the impression that she could not work and attend classes with a TN visa. We decided to conduct research on this topic.
1. What is a TN visa?
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. 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 for U.S. or foreign employers.
2. Who is eligible for a TN visa?
Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant 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); and
You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.
Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for TN visas to work as NAFTA professionals.
3. Can those with a TN visa study and work?
Yes! TN visa holders can work and study as long as their education is incidental to the profession for which they gained TN status. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, if a Canadian or Mexican national has been already admitted to the United States in a work-related nonimmigrant classification pursuant to NAFTA, it is permissible for them to attend school incidental to their NAFTA-based classification.
4. Are there other nonimmigrant visa classifications that permit the visa holder to study?
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, other nonimmigrants who can take educational courses while they are employed in the U.S. are Foreign Government Officials, Treaty Traders and Investors, Academic or Language Students, Representatives to International Organizations, Temporary Workers, Foreign Media Representatives, Exchange Visitors, Fiance(e)s and Spouses of U.S. citizens, Intracompany Transferees, Vocational or other Nonacademic Students, Certain Parents and Children of Special Immigrants, Workers with Extraordinary Abilities, Artists, Athletes, and Entertainers, International Cultural Exchange Visitors, Religious Workers, NATIO, Witnesses and Informants, Alien Victims of Human Trafficking and of Certain Crimes, and Certain Second Preference Beneficiaries.
For more information on the TN visa refer to the links below: