Avoid Complacency with your TN Visa Filings - Prior Approvals Do Not Guarantee Future Ones.

A common occurrence with the TN visa classification: An individual has received multiple TN visa approvals in the past, and submits similar paperwork to USCBP to obtain a TN for a new job. CBP denies the application because the officer feels that the position offered, and/or the individual’s credentials do not qualify for the particular TN visa category.

The applicant is, of course upset, and incredulous because he/she has obtained TN visa status for this type of position and/or has relied upon these credentials in the past without any issue. In many case the individual has obtained multiple TNs at the very same port-of-entry that has now denied his/her TN application. Now the individual’s job opportunity is at risk, and his/her subsequent travel to the U.S. will now be subject to greater scrutiny.

This is the nature of the TN visa classification, and an extremely common occurrence. Each application is treated as a new one. A prior officer’s determination of eligibility has little or no bearing on how a subsequent officer will adjudicate an application. The risk for denial despite prior approvals is especially high for the more difficult TN visa classifications like the Management Consultant, Computer Systems Analyst, and Scientific Technician categories.

Individuals must, therefore, prepare each application with the same diligence and thoroughness as if applying for a TN for a first time. Individuals can avoid a potential denial by preparing a detailed application, and possessing sufficient supporting documentation to establish eligibility for TN visa status. Taking the following steps will help applicants avoid issues with initial and subsequent TN visa applications.

  • All applicants should have an employer support letter with specific, detailed job duties, and that explains the appropriateness of the applicant’s credentials for the TN category.
  • All applicants should be prepared for their interview. They should know their job duties, and be ready to advocate how their job or credentials qualify for the TN. Applicants should also ensure that the employer is ready for a phone call from CBP, and can adequately explain the nature of the job offer.
  • Individuals with degrees not specifically in the TN category should have on hand secondary materials like the Occupational Outlook Handbook to show the relevancy of the degree to the TN category.
  • Individuals seeking TNs in the more difficult TN categories, or who have non-standard job titles should also have on hand the OOH and other documentation to show how the position falls under the TN category.