INFORMATION FOR CANADIANS
As a result of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian citizens have certain advantages under U.S. Immigration Law.
Canadians do not need to go to a U.S. consulate to enter the United States as a tourist. The B-2 visa (visit for "pleasure") is issued at the border and grants admission for a maximum of 6 months. Although Canadians are not required to have passports to enter the U.S. from Canada, it is certainly recommended as some proof of Canadian citizenship must be shown.
This being said, if a Canadian Citizen wishes to engage in employment or other activity not allowed by the tourist visa, they must apply in the same fashion as other nationalities. The NAFTA or TN visa is a special work visa available to both Canadians and Mexicans.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed December 8, 1993. One of the chapters of the agreement is related to immigration issues. Mexicans and Canadians benefit from an expanded admission class when coming to the U.S. to engage in professional activities defined by the NAFTA.
B-1 visa (Visitors for Business)
A citizen of Canada may enter the U.S. as a business visitor provided that they receive no salary or other remuneration from a U.S. source as long as their occupations/profession is one of the following:
- research and design;
- growth, manufacture and production;
- marketing (including trade fair and promotional personnel attending a convention);
- sales (for representatives and agents taking orders or negotiating contracts for goods or services, but not delivering goods or providing services);
- distribution (including transportation operators and customs brokers, except Mexico has exempt this activity);
- after-sales services, including installation, repair and maintenanace personnel;
- general service, including management and supervisory personnel engaged in commercial transactions, financial service personnel, public relations personnel, tourism personnel, tour bus operators translators and other professionals set out in Appendix 1603.D.1 ("TN") to Annex 1603 of NAFTA.
Once again, the visitor must prove Canadian citizenship.
Canadians who are applying for L visas may present their petitions at any Class A port of entry or preclearance/pre-flight station. The Canadian spouse or children of a L-1 visa recipient is entitled to L-2 status. Click here for more Information.
TN status is for Canadian persons engaged in activities at a professional level. "Activities at a Professional Level" under NAFTA is defined as requiring "at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional."
The TN visa applicant must prove they do not intend to immigrate, as there is no statutory limitation on stay such as exists for H visas (specialty occuptations) and L visas (intra-company transfer).
A TN visa is valid for one year and can be renewed indefinately. To see the full list of various categories of professions that are covered by the TN section of NAFTA, click here for more information.
NAFTA provides for E1/E2 status for Canadians. An E visa is considered based upon treaty of friendship, commerce, or other arrangements between the US and another country. The E visa category is expansive and complicated and most suites a person who seeks to enter the U.S. to invest a substantial amount of money. To read more about E visas, click here for more information.