Requirements for SciTech TN Visa Supervisory Professional

Question: Could you tell me what credentials the professional (for whom the scientific technician TN visa applicant is supporting) is required to have? For instance, if the scientific technician is supporting a mechanical engineer, does the engineer need a Professional Engineer (P.E.) license or is a degreed engineer sufficient?

Answer: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has in the past attempted to require a SciTech’s supervisory professional to possess an Engineering license. I do not think a license is required, however, under the TN visa regulations. A bachelor’s degree should suffice as well.

In order to qualify for TN visa status under the Scientific Technician category, one of the requirements is that the applicant must work in “direct support of professionals” in one of the ten applicable fields. See 8 C.F.R. § 214.6 (c) fn. 6. Supplemental immigration guidance further states that the individuals for whom the applicant will work in support of “must qualify as a professional in their own right” in one of these fields. Williams Memo (11-07-2002). The TN visa regulations and guidance on Scientific Technicians are otherwise silent on what credentials are required to establish an individual as a professional for purposes of a Scientific Technician application.

However, the TN visa regulations do list the types of credentials the government will accept to establish an individual as a professional Engineer for purposes of TN visa status. To qualify for TN visa status, an applicant must demonstrate status as a professional in a profession listed in the NAFTA Appendix. 8 C.F.R. § 214.6 (b). Under the regulations, an individual demonstrates status as a professional Engineer by possessing either a bachelor’s degree or a state/provincial license. 8 C.F.R. § 214.6 (c).

Based on this provision, an individual should still qualify for TN visa status as a Scientific Technician in the field of Engineering if he/she is working in support of an individual who possesses either an applicable bachelor’s degree or license.