Non immigrant visas : Treaty based

 

 

NAFTA Professionals (TN Visa)

 

The TN nonimmigrant classification created under The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

 

Types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. An individual would be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if it can be established that:

·         The individual is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;

·         The profession for which the individual is being hired qualifies under the regulations;

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

·         The individual has a prearranged full-time or part-time job offer from a U.S. employer; and

·         The individual has the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.

 

The process, however, for Canadian citizens is different from that from Mexican citizens.

 

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa.  They may establish eligibility for TN classification at the time of seeking admission to the United States by presenting required documentation at the US port of entry to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.

Alternatively, a prospective TN employer may choose to file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is outside the United States by submitting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS.  If USCIS approves Form I-129, the prospective worker, may then apply to CBP for admission to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant by providing the approval notice and other documentation to a CBP Officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station:

 

Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. The individual should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.  Once the individual has been approved for a TN visa, he/ she may apply for admission at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. 

Period of stay on TN can be upto 3 years

 

If the TN professional needs to remain in the United States beyond the granted  period of stay without first departing from the United States, their employer must seek an extension of stay by filing Form I-129 to USCIS on their behalf.

Alternatively, the individual may depart from the United States before the date his/ her status expires, and then, once abroad, may apply at a CBP-designated U.S. port of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station using the same application and documentation procedures required at the time of your initial application for admission as a TN nonimmigrant.

 

Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants

Spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status for the same duration as TN professional.  Spouses and children are however, not permitted to work while in the United States.

 

 

Treaty Trader (E-1)

 

The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of one of the Treaty countries to enter the U.S. for the purpose of engaging in international trade on his own behalf or as an employee of a qualifying organization.

 

The treaty trader must be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, carry on substantial trade of which principal trade (at least 50%) must be between the United States and the treaty country which

qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

 

Certain employees of such a Treaty trader or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. To qualify for E-1 classification as the employee of a treaty trader, the employee must be of the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country) and either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications or skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business. 

If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons who have the nationality of the treaty country and classifiable as nonimmigrant treaty traders. 

 

Process of getting E-1 classification

If the Treaty trader is outside the US, the process of getting E-1 classification would depend upon the US Department of State’s requirement for that specific treaty country. The individual may either have to be obtain E-1 visa through either the US consulate abroad, or in case the treaty country is visa waiver country, by presenting required documentation at the US port of entry to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.

 

If the treaty trader is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-1 classification.  If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf.

 

Qualified treaty traders and employees are normally allowed a maximum initial stay of two years after which extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted. 

 

Family of E-1 Treaty Traders and Employees

 

Treaty traders and employees may be joined in the US by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Such Spouses and unmarried children may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.  Spouses of E-1 workers are also eligible to be granted work authorization while in the US.

 

For the list of Treaty countries and type of Visa classification for which traty is in effect please click on the link below:

               List of Treaty countries

 

 

 

 

Treaty Investors (E-2)

 

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty to be admitted to the United States by investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.  Certain employees of such Treaty investors or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.

 

To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States and be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.  This is established by showing at least 50% ownership or corporate control of the enterprise. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from any criminal activity.

 

Though substantial amount of capital has not been quantified in the regulations, the capital should be substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one, be sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise, and be of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.  The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

 

Certain employees of such a Treaty investor or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. To qualify for E-2 classification as the employee of a treaty investor, the employee must be of the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country) and either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications or skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business.

A treaty investor or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted.  An E-2 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the relationship between the organizations is established, subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills and the terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.

 

Process of getting E-2 classification

If the Treaty investor is outside the US, the process of getting E-2 classification would depend upon the US Department of State’s requirement for that specific treaty country. The individual may either have to be obtain E-2 visa through either the US consulate abroad, or in case the treaty country is visa waiver country, by presenting required documentation at the US port of entry to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at certain CBP-designated U.S. ports of entry or at a designated pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station.

 

If the treaty investor is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification.  If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf.

 

Qualified treaty investors and employees are normally allowed a maximum initial stay of two years after which extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted. 

 

Family of E-2 Treaty Investors and Employees

Treaty investors and employees may be joined in the US by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Such Spouses and unmarried children may seek E-2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.  Spouses of E-2 workers are also eligible to be granted work authorization while in the US.

 

For the list of Treaty countries and type of Visa classification for which traty is in effect please click on the link below:

                  List of Treaty countries

 

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