TN status requirements

I know most of the members here have moved around quite a bit, so I’m hoping someone will have some experience with this so I don’t have to visit the US embassy again (that place is scary! and not very helpful…)

A prospective employer for an internship is telling me that they’re not doing J1 sponsorships this year. Is it possible to use the TN with “intern” in the job title, or does that invalidate the whole “couldn’t find anyone in the US” stipulation?

Also, has anyone managed to get a TN without their original diploma? I just finished my requirements, but the next convocation isn’t until June, so my school is telling me they don’t print them until then… I’m hoping something along the lines of a signed letter from the dean, combined with a statement of degree requirements and an official transcript will be enough.


Okay so are you going from Canada to the US?

I’m not certain, but from my understanding you need the professional qualifications (degree) to qualify for TN visa. I’m not sure about any job title specifics. From what I’ve heard anecdotally, you just need to show up at the border with a job offer letter and the $50 or whatever fee. That being said, I would have no idea how they evaluate your professional status at the border…I assume there must be a form someplace. Have you tried to find it to see what they are looking for?


Try contacting the Minneapolis Consulate. They’ve been touting a job connection between Minnesota and Canada lately, so they’d probably be more than happy to help you, and can probably speak to specifics for what you need to work in the US.

To get a TN to enter the states you need a 4year degree in a field that is covered under the NAFTA agreement (ID is) you will also need to have your School and degree reviewed by a independent company that is qualified in the eyes of the US gov. saying that your degree is the equivalent of on in the US. On top of the degree you also need to have been a practicing professional in your job (ID for i believe 2-3 years) The TN also must be renewed every year. Also the company hiring a person on a TN visa must also prove that they tried (criteria for trying is define) to hire a US citizen to fill the job and where unable to find a qualified candidate.

If you have any other questions let me know as i lived this process the good the bad and they ugly side of it for 10 years.

Thanks for the responses!

Yes I’m hoping to go from Canada to the US. (also looking in the UK too, but their process is pretty straightforward)

Chevis, the degree I just finished is mechanical engineering, which is covered, and I graduated from an accredited program, so I’m hoping I won’t need a review, but I’ll look into it, thanks!
The two-year practicing requirement is worrying me now. I didn’t see anything about that while searching before. I do have about 2 years of experience as a sum of previous internships and startup work. Do you know if only post-grad work counts for this?

NURB, I’ll definitely try calling the consulate soon, thanks!

R, from the anecdotes I’ve seen on other forums, most people just take their original diploma right off of the wall, frame and everything, as proof of professional qualifications. That’s why I’m worried about not being able to get a hold of this until June…


I have a similar, if not worse situation.

Is there any chance of obtaining a TN visa without a degree at all, not graduated?

I just capped out my J-1 visa and got a new kick-ass job offer in the USA. Technically, I am dropped out of design school (leave of absence) in Canada and have only completed 3 years of ID.

I am well qualified for the role in a few ways and have 3 years professional experience, and 2 of related but not professional experience.

Do I have a shot in hell at a TN? Or am I looking at something else?

Afaik, no. TN visa is for professionals. Defined by have a degree in the required field.


Hmmm…Looks like I will have to apply for another J-1 then…

Thanks for the reply.


Another J-1?
I was under the understanding that you only can do one J-1 in your career…

I’m starting to feel like the only topics we end up talking about are visa’s :wink:

In theory you can do as many J1’s as you like. However it comes with restrictions…

Essentially as long as you qualify for the appropriate J1 (intern/trainee) you can take part every two years, which is different to the “two year home stay requirement”. For example I completed my J1 intern in July 2014, I’ll be eligible for a J1 trainee in July 2016 after spending two years working outside of the US.

Obviously when you get to a certain point in your career you won’t want to be classed as a ‘trainee’ and only be eligible to live somewhere for an 18 month period. It is doable however.

Hopefully in 2016 there might actually be some changes in the immigration system, but I doubt it…

Interesting, didn’t know that.
This might be a way to get people in while you wait for the H1B application date and the time which is needed for processing.

Learned something new, thanks Sketchgrad!

No problem!

I wasn’t aware of it until I came home either. I thought once my J1 intern was up I could come home, get my years worth of experience to qualify for the J1 trainee and ship out again next summer.

Unfortunately the two year gap requirement put a spanner in the works so if I do want to head back I’m relying on the H1-B again. Last I heard they probably won’t even look at immigration reform until January 2015, if at all…

I wasn’t aware of the requirement to have your degree “checked” for a TN so that’s good to know. Is there a list of approved companies that do this and what is required (documents-wise) to present at the border/point of entry to verify your degree?

I also wasn’t aware of the requirement to have worked in the field for a while…I didn’t see any mention of experience in the guidelines and I remember one upper classman who graduated and got a job in LA immediately so I assumed there was none. Can anyone confirm/elaborate on this?

I’m graduating in a few years and was hoping the TN would facilitate job opportunities in the US for me as a Canadian as opportunities seem more numerous (always good to have more options after all).

You finished in July? Well geez, I finish this August and am applying for another one as soon as possible. I thought there was a way you could get them back-to-back without waiting 2 years? If you change sponsor companies and J-1 category, and find a willing sponsor to do them?

The sponsor company I called up hinted that there is a possibility. And that my odds of being eligible are probably 30% which is not zero. I am skeptical but hopeful.

Thanks again,


Well I’m not an immigration lawyer and am only speaking from personal experience here. As with most things in life I’d suggest doing your homework way in advance and not just assume things are going to be straight forward - especially when navigating the US immigration system.

As you said, your sponsor only hinted and didn’t confirm anything. I’d call them up again and get a concrete answer so that you can start making appropriate steps to either remain in the US (unlikely) or find employment in your home country (likely).

I think the rules might be different if you’re Canadian. I know plenty of students who do internships every 8 months in the US throughout their degree, often repeating the same company.