TN Visa: Computer Systems Analyst
BACKGROUND OF TN VISA CATEGORY
The TN visa occupational category for Computer Systems Analysts was first listed in the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1989. See 54 Federal Register 12 (Jan. 3, 1989). The predecessor to NAFTA, the FTA provided work authorization under TC visa status, which was only available to Canadian citizens. The occupational category for Computer Systems Analysts was carried over and included in the NAFTA list of available occupations in 1994. See 58 FR 69205 (Dec. 30, 1993).
TN VISA APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS
Initially, under the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (the predecessor to NAFTA) an individual could qualify as a Computer Systems Analyst based solely on possession of a bachelor’s degree. 54 FR 48575 (Nov. 24, 1989). In 1990, the U.S. and Canada began to explore alternative credential requirements for this category. 55 FR 6694 (Feb. 26, 1990).
In 1991, noting that Computer Systems Analysts worked in “an emerging profession,” the two countries proposed adding a post-secondary diploma with three years’ experience as an alternative acceptable qualification to a bachelor’s degree. 56 FR 11528 (March 19, 1991). This alternative qualification was adopted in July 1992. 57 FR 33272 (July 28, 1992).
The credentials acceptable for eligibility under the Computer Systems Analyst category remained unchanged following the implementation of NAFTA. To qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for Computer Systems Analysts, an individual must possess one of the following:
- Bachelor’s degree.
- Licenciatura Degree.
- Post-Secondary Diploma and three years of experience.
- Post Secondary Certificate and three years of experience.
The regulations governing TN visa status generally do not provide any guidance on the type of degrees or majors suitable for a particular TN occupational category. To determine the types of degrees suitable for Computer Systems Analysts for purposes of a TN visa, we may refer to U.S. Department of Labor publications such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). See Royal Siam Corp. v. Chertoff, 484 F.3d 139, 145 (1st Cir. 2007).
Read more about the TN visa degree requirements.
TN VISA JOB DUTIES REQUIREMENTS
The TN visa regulations do not specifically define the types of Computer Systems Analyst positions or job duties that are permissible under this TN category. Like the degree requirement, individuals should refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for guidance on the generally accepted job duties for this occupation.
The legacy INS' NAFTA Handbook does provide some additional clarification on the types of duties U.S. immigration finds acceptable for a Computer Systems Analyst:
The computer systems analyst category does not include programmers. A systems analyst is an information specialist who analyzes how data processing can be applied to the specific needs of users and who designs and implements computer-based processing systems. Systems analysts study the organization itself to identify its information needs and design computer systems that meet those needs. Although the systems analyst will do some programming, the TN category has not been expanded to include programmers.
Read more about TN visa job duties.
Revised Aug. 22, 2018.