TN Visa Approval: Computer Systems Analyst - Despite Previous Denials for Lack of Computer Science Degree.

Job Offer:

Large IT staffing firm offering data processing support, including consulting and technical support, systems engineering, software design, database management, business analysis, and systems development. Applicant would primarily be responsible for the development, design, analysis, testing and maintenance of clients’ Content Management Systems.

Prior History:

The IT firm had previously filed three TN visa applications for the Applicant under the Computer Systems Analyst category, which U.S. immigration approved without complication. The staffing firm then filed a fourth TN visa application under the Computer Systems Analyst category for the very same position. The POE denied this application contending that because the Applicant did not possess a computer science degree, she could not qualify for the Computer Systems Analyst category. CBP referred the Applicant to a TN “specialist” at another POE. This officer refused the TN on the same basis. The Applicant then hired our firm to determine whether we could rehabilitate her case.

Our Analysis:

We repeatedly see TN denials under the Computer Systems Analyst category where CBP denies an application merely because the applicant does not possess a degree specifically in computer science. There is no basis for this interpretation under NAFTA TN regulations (See Computer Systems Analyst TN Requirements) or secondary authorities! Legacy INS Memoranda and the Occupational Outlook Handbook provide that an individual may qualify for a Computer Systems Analyst TN based on possession of a related degree, the completion of computer related coursework, and industry related experience.

As provided in the legacy INS , Michael Cronin, July 24, 2000 , Memorandum on adjudication of NAFTA applications, the Hotel Manager is the only TN category that requires a specific degree or post-secondary diploma under the NAFTA TN regulations. No other TN category requires a specific degree. According to the Cronin Memo, all that is required is that “[t]he degree should be in the field or in a closely related field. Officers should use good judgment in determining whether a degree in an allied field may be appropriate.” Furthermore, the OOH definition for  Computer Systems Analyst specifically states that individuals with non-computer-science degrees, regardless of their major, will qualify for Computer Systems Analyst positions provided they have completed related coursework.

How We Obtained an Approval:

In a separate legal memorandum, we utilized the Cronin Memo and OOH materials to support our argument that the Applicant’s Communication, Culture, and Information Technology degree was sufficiently related and well suited for a position as a Computer Systems Analyst. We highlighted the computer systems and information technology courses the Applicant completed through the course of her degree program. Last, we pointed out that the Applicant had supplemented her formal education with related, practical experience, including three prior Computer Systems Analyst TN approvals for the same company and for the very same position.