transcript making a tn application at the border

Transcript: Making a TN Application at the Border

Hey there, this is Ben Frear and today I’m going to talk about making a TN application at the border.

So, a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs can utilize TN status for professional employees who are nationals of either Canada or Mexico. And TN status offers a lot of benefits.

Highlights of TN Status

Here are some of the highlights of having TN status…

Many professionals qualify

There are a lot of professions that qualify for the status under the USMCA which is short for the United States Mexico Canada agreement. This is essentially the agreement that replaced NAFTA. I don’t know if you remember this, but President Trump said that it was a terrible deal. NAFTA was the worst deal ever. So this new agreement, the U. S. M. C. A. replaced it.

No heavy lifting required for the employer

Another benefit of the TN status is that employees can qualify without a lot of involvement on the part of the employer. Sometimes employers will be a little bit nervous to get involved in any sort of immigration process because they assume it’s going to take a lot of time, it’s going to cost a lot of money. But the TN process is relatively smooth, streamlined and can be inexpensive, especially if you’re applying at the border.

Unlimited Extensions

Another benefit is that the status can be extended indefinitely as long as the qualifications continue to be met. This isn’t the case for a lot of other types of visas. The L1 visa, for example, has a relatively short duration and you can’t exceed a certain number of years. With the TN, you can renew it, you can extend it, you can keep it going as long as the employment continues to meet the qualifications.

Canadians can make a TN application at the border

And last but not least…

Probably my favorite benefit of the TN category is that Canadian citizens can make the application for TN status at the border. This ability to make the application at the border is huge.

It results in a fast, relatively inexpensive and streamlined process. You don’t have to pay a processing fee, file a stack of documents with the USCIS and wait for a decision. Instead, you can literally roll up to the border, present your documentation, get an approval on the spot, then enter the United States in TN status. Now, obviously before you show up at the border and ask for TN status, you’re going to do your homework and you’re going to get organized and that’s what I’m going to talk about. I’m going to talk about getting organized. I’m going to talk about the research that you’re
going to do so that you’re nice and relaxed, calm and confident that your TN application is going to be approved.

The process of making a TN application at the border

So here are the steps that you’re going to take—hopefully with the assistance of an immigration lawyer— before you make that application.

The first thing that you’re going to do is you’re going to make sure that your profession actually qualifies for TN status. Now, like I said, one of the beauties of the TN status is that a lot of professions qualify for it, but there are some odd ones that do not. So before you go down this road, take a look at the actual list of occupations, the list of professions that qualify and go through it to make sure that your profession is actually included on the list.

After you see the profession there, you will go on to verify that the position actually requires a TN Professional. And to do that, you can look at the job description, you can look at the requirements and you can also look at the actual job duties that are going to be conducted in this role. and you want to see if they line up, this is in a situation where you can’t say…oh it would be nice to have this type of professional but they’re not really going to be spending most of their time working in that capacity. You want there to be perfect alignment between the job duties that the profession typically performs and the job duties that will be conducted in the proposed position in the United States.

So after you see the professional list, after you verify that the position actually requires a TN Professional, then you will start to gather your evidence.

The main evidence will consist of a statement from the employer. It’s like a support statement and this is a statement that typically provides details about the business and the employees background. It also explains the need for a. TN professional. And it includes details on the terms of employment, including salary, length of employment, etcetera.

You will also gather information that shows how the employee qualifies as a TN Professional. This will include evidence of nationality, a statement of intent to return to Canada at the end of TN status, relevant diplomas and degrees and sometimes experience letters if that’s required for the particular profession.

In addition to these items, I also oftentimes recommend some extra items just in case the CBP officer wants to see them. These items typically include transcripts, honors, pages from the employer’s website and the summary of the profession from the occupational outlook handbook.

After all the relevant information has been gathered, it will be time for you to start carefully organizing your application packet. This step should absolutely not be overlooked.

The last thing that you want to do is show up at the border with a sloppy pile of documents that you drop in the CBP officers lap. You want to make the officer’s life as easy as possible. You are asking them for something very important. So make their job easier. This means that you’re going to want to include a list of exhibits and tabs so the officer can easily access all of the relevant information.


So there you have it. Those are the three main steps that you’ll take when you are preparing to make a TN Application at the border. Analyze your profession and the actual job requirements for the proposed job in the United States, gather all of the relevant documentation that you will present and carefully organize your application packet.

Making the TN application at the Canadian border is an amazing option for many people because it’s fast and it’s inexpensive.

However, I completely understand that it is extremely nerve wracking to show up at the border without knowing for sure if you are going to be able to enter the United States in TN status.

To reduce your stress, please consult with one of the many amazing immigration lawyers that we have throughout the United States. This will make your life easier and in many cases increase your odds of a successful and smooth process.

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Benjamin Frear, Esq.

Immigration Lawyer For Entrepreneurs and High Growth Companies

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