The International and Postdoctoral Services Office (IPSO) has prepared this information to assist colleges/departments in determining if TN sponsorship is appropriate for their hiring needs and how to facilitate a TN sponsorship through Customs and Border Protection or adjudication by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). If you have any questions or need additional information, please email or call Jonathan Harwood, Coordinator of International Services, at joharwood@augusta.edu or 706-721-0670.

What is a TN?

The TN (Trade NAFTA) category was developed as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA), to facilitate the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens to the United States to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis.

 

What positions qualify for TN sponsorship?

Only occupations specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty can serve as the basis for TN employment. Appendix 1603.D.1 also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation. Commonly sponsored positions for TN status include: Teachers, Scientists, Research Assistants, Dentists, Pharmacists and Physicians (only incidental patient care allowed). If the position requires licensure, applicants must have the license when applying for TN status.

Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of the NAFTA listed in 8 C.F.R. § 214.6(c).

 

What positions are not suitable for TN sponsorship?

Occupations not listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 are not eligible for TN sponsorship.

 

Who is eligible for TN sponsorship?

To be eligible for TN status, a potential employee must:

  • Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico. Landed immigrants and permanent residents of Canada and Mexico do not qualify.
  • Be applying for a position listed on the TN Occupations List
  • Possess the minimum qualifications for that position, as listed on the TN Occupations List
  • Have plans for a temporary stay. Longer-term positions (such as tenure-track faculty positions) are not appropriate for TN status.

 

Who needs to file for TN status?

As TN is an employer-sponsored status, the hiring college/department is responsible for starting the TN process by notifying IPSO of their interest in a TN candidate and submitting a TN Processing/Department Request. IPSO will evaluate the candidate and position for TN sponsorship eligibility. IPSO will only petition for qualified personnel whom the college/department wishes to employ. The hiring unit must begin this process on behalf of new and continuing personnel.

 

How much does sponsorship cost?

There are two paths to TN status for potential and extending employees.

  1. Travel: Applicants can apply for TN status directly at the U.S. border with documentation provided by IPSO. This method incurs no charge to the college/department and is the fastest way to secure TN status.
  2. Petition to USCIS: If the candidate is currently in the U.S. in a different status, a change of status request can be filed with USCIS. Sponsorship requires the college/department to pay $460 in application fees. USCIS processing varies from 3-5 months.

 

How long does it take to hire an employee in TN status?

Applying at the border is the quickest means of obtaining TN status. IPSO can usually review a complete processing/department request and assemble the necessary documentation within two weeks. The applicant will take the documentation to the border to apply for TN status, which is usually granted immediately. Colleges/Departments can expect to wait 3-6 months if a petition for change of status is submitted to USCIS.

 

How long is a TN valid?

Both Canadian and Mexican citizens can be admitted to the United States in TN status in increments of up to three years. Extensions of stay are also granted in up to three-year increments. There is no cumulative time limit on the time a Canadian or Mexican citizen can be in TN status. Status can be renewed indefinitely, provided the TN professional can still prove nonimmigrant intent each time he or she applies for admission to the U.S.

 

Can an employee seek both permanent residency and TN status at the same time?

No. TN status is considered temporary in nature and does not allow an employee to petition for permanent residency.

 

Will IPSO petition for status for the dependents of TN employees?

If a change of status petition is being submitted to USCIS, as a professional courtesy, IPSO will petition for dependents (giving them TD status). However, the USCIS filing fee of $460 (subject to change) is to be paid by the employee.

 

Who can be considered an TD visa holder?

Qualifying TD beneficiaries are the spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age of the principal TN visa holder.

 

Can an TD visa holder work while in the US?

No. A TD visa holder cannot legally work in the United States but may engage in full- or part-time study.

TN Processing

1. From the Hiring Unit

A TN Application consists of the following documents, submitted from both the Hiring Department and the TN applicant.

FOR SPONSORSHIP THROUGH TRAVEL OR CHANGE OF STATUS

For Postdoctoral Fellow positions, please see the Postdoctoral Guidelines for information on how to obtain the template offer letter for postdocs.

For classified positions, we will need a copy of the official offer letter generated by Human Resources.

For faculty appointments, we will need a copy of the official appointment letter.

FOR CHANGE OF STATUS PETITIONS

  • USCIS Filing Fees of $460.00 (must be paid by the hiring unit)

A check of $460.00, made payable to:

Department of Homeland Security,

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,

California Service Center,

ATTN: CAP EXEMPT H-1B Processing Unit

P. O. BOX 30040

Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-3004

The $460 is the USCIS filing fee associated with the application to petition for a TN visa (Form I-129) on behalf of Augusta  University for an employee. View more information about USCIS filing fees.

  • (OPTIONAL) USCIS Premium Processing Fee of $2,500 (paid by the hiring unit)

A check of $2,500, made payable to:

Department of Homeland Security,

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,

California Service Center,

ATTN: CAP EXEMPT H-1B Processing Unit

P. O. BOX 30040

Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-3004

Premium processing will reduce USCIS adjudication time to 3 weeks.

2. From the Applicant/Employee

Applicants currently in the United States, not holding a TN through Augusta University

FOR SPONSORSHIP THROUGH TRAVEL

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae, with all dates listed in month/year format
  • Copy of passport (e.g. main information page, visa stamps, passport expiration date)
  • Copies of all academic degrees, licenses, and/or certifications (Foreign documents must be translated to the English language).
  • If the applicant's final degree is from a foreign institution (not U.S. nor Canadian), a document-by-document credential evaluation from American company. Some companies that provide this service: www.ece.org,www.gceus.com, www.lisano-intl.com, www.jsilny.com,www.wes.org
    For Chinese degrees, use one of these two services: www.chsi.com.cn/en/ or www.cdgdc.edu.cn
  • Copies of publications, if any (first page only)

 

FOR CHANGE OF STATUS PETITIONS

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae, with all dates listed in month/year format
  • Copy of current I-94 (front and back)
  • Copy of current work permission document (I-20, DS-2019*, EAD, I-797 or TN visa stamp)
  • * IMPORTANT: For applicants who have previously been in J-1 or J-2 status subject to the 212(e) 2-year home residence requirement, a copy of the approval of your I-612 waiver is required for a change of status to TN. A Department of State No Objection Letter is no longer sufficient to change status. Current and prospective employees should consult with their department/college and IPSO before beginning the waiver process.
  • Copy of passport (e.g. main information page, visa stamps, passport expiration date)
  • Copies of all academic degrees, licenses, and/or certifications (Foreign documents must be translated to the English language).
  • If the applicant's final degree is from a foreign institution (not U.S. nor Canadian), a document-by-document credential evaluation from American company. Some companies that provide this service: www.ece.org,www.gceus.com, www.lisano-intl.com, www.jsilny.com,www.wes.org
    For Chinese degrees, use one of these two services: www.chsi.com.cn/en/ or www.cdgdc.edu.cn
  • Copies of publications, if any (first page only)

Note:Applicants currently holding a TN with another employer who want to transfer to Augusta University will need to provide all documents listed above including their current TN Approval Notice (Form I-797 or TN visa) and copies of three (3) most recent pay stubs.

Applicants not currently in the United States

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae, with all dates listed in month/year format
  • Copy of passport
  • Copies of all academic degrees, licenses, and/or certifications (Foreign transcripts must be translated into the English language.)
  • If the applicant's final degree is from a foreign institution (not U.S. nor Canadian), a document-by-document credential evaluation from American company. Some companies that provide this service: www.ece.org,www.gceus.com, www.lisano-intl.com, www.jsilny.com,www.wes.org
    For Chinese degrees, use one of these two services: www.chsi.com.cn/en/ or www.cdgdc.edu.cn
  • Copies of publications, if any (first page only)

 

Applicants/Current Augusta University Employees Extending TN status at Augusta University

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae, with all dates listed in month/year format
  • Copy of current I-94
  • Current copies of publications, if any (first page only)

 

3. From TN Applicant Dependent(s) Currently Present in the U.S.

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form (dependent section)
    Copy of passport (must be current through the period of stay requested for the H-1B visa holder)
  • Copy of I-94 (front and back)
  • Filing Fee of $460 check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security: (Note: The total fee of $460 covers all dependents.)
  • Copy of marriage and/or birth certificates (foreign marriage and/or birth certificates must be translated to the English language)
  • Foreign address in home country
  • Dependent will need to sign USCIS Form I-539.

 

4. IPSO Will

  • Draft Support Letter to be signed by College Dean, Department Chair, Institution or Center Director. The Support Letter will include a summary of the position being offered as stated in the Department TN Processing/Request Form, which occupation the position matches on Appendix 1603 and a description of why the individual uniquely meets the qualifications for the position offered.
  • Draft Job-offer/continuing employment letter for TN extension, or change of status to TN, to be signed by the applicant's supervisor.
  • For change of status petitions, complete USCIS Forms, provide institutional signatures, and mail completed package to USCIS.
  • For those applying/extending through travel, IPSO will provide a supporting document package to present to Customs and Border Protection Officials.  

TN Occupational Fields

From Appendix 1603 of the NFTA Relevant to Employment at Augusta University


Medical/Allied Professionals

  • Dentist - D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia or Doctor en Cirugia Dental or state/provincial license.
  • Dietitian - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)/Medical Technologist (Mexico and the United States) (7) - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience. (7) A business person in this category must be seeking temporary entry to perform in a laboratory chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic or bacteriological tests and analyses for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of diseases.
  • Nutritionist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Occupational Therapist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Pharmacist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Physician (teaching or research only) - M.D. Doctor en Medicina; or state/provincial license
  • Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
  • Psychologist - state/provincial license; or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Recreational Therapist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Registered nurse - state/provincial license or Licenciatura Degree.

 

Scientists

  • Animal Breeder - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Animal Scientist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Biochemist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Chemist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Epidemiologist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Geneticist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Pharmacologist - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

 

Teacher

  • College - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • University - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

 

Other Fields

  • Computer Systems Analyst- Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma (3) or Post Secondary Certificate (4) and three years' experience. (3) "Post Secondary Diploma" means a credential issued, on completion of two or more years of post secondary education, by an accredited academic institution in Canada or the United States. (4) "Post Secondary Certificate" means a certificate issued, on completion of two or more years of post secondary education at an academic institution, by the federal government of Mexico or a state government in Mexico, an academic institution recognized by the federal government or a state government, or an academic institution created by federal or state law
  • Librarian - M.L.S., or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree was a prerequisite).
  • Mathematician (including Statistician) - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution) - Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
  • Scientific Technician/Technologist (6) - Possession of (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research. (6) A business person in this category must be seeking temporary entry for work in direct support of professionals in agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology or physics.

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