Freelancing: TN vs. OPT
Question: I am Canadian currently studying Graphic Design and approaching the completion of the program. As far as I know I am fully eligible to fall under NAFTA.
My questions is: Is it possible to be a freelance graphic designer during a NAFTA term? If so what would you submit in place of a letter of employment? Is this common for people to work as freelancers under NAFTA?
Reply: I’ve previously addressed the issue of freelance work under TN status. Generally, it can be burdensome because in most situations you’ll need a TN for each company you work for.
If you’re completing a bachelor’s program in the U.S. under F-1 student status, you may be eligible for 12 months of employment authorization under Optional Practical Training (“OPT”).
OPT provides you with open-market employment authorization, i.e. you can work for any company in your field without filing a new application for employment. If applicable, see your school’s international student office for more info on OPT.