TN Visa & Multiple Consulting Engagements

Question: I am considering starting my own consulting business. I have 6 years of experience in the financial services software industry (I am assuming that would qualify me under the Management Consultant category) but I do not have a bachelor’s degree.

I would offer my services to financial advisors in the U.S. by helping them determine what software products would be best for them to use by analyzing their current clientele and office structure. I would also give them advice as to how they can improve the efficiency of the office. The length of each engagement would depend on the size of the office. Each office would have no connection to each other as the advisors work independently. Would I need to apply for a TN Status each time I have a signed contract for a new engagement?

Reply: Assuming you can qualify for the Management Consultant category, I see two possible arrangements for your provision of services under TN visa status.

  1. If you enter into a consulting contract with each individual U.S. client, then you should obtain a TN for each client.
  2. If you contract with a U.S. consulting company, and obtain a TN through this company, then you may provide services to clients who contract with the U.S. consulting company. In this scenario, you would not need to apply for additional TNs to serve these clients.

Other alternatives that would avoid multiple immigration filings for each client include (a) setting up an E-1 business or (b) establishing your company in Canada for a one year period, and then opening up a new U.S. office under the L-1 visa category.