In interpreting the requirements for a Scientific Technician under TN visa status, a January 2008 Department of State memo stated that a “technician who assists the engineer in the lab to design and develop a new technology may qualify as a scientific technician, but the mechanic who repairs and maintains that same technology after it’s built and used in everyday life, is not a scientific technician.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials along the Canadian border, as well as at Pearson, Vancouver and Calgary airports, have interpreted this memo to mean that in order for an applicant to qualify for TN status as a Scientific Technologist the individual must work in a laboratory.
CBP has clarified that inspectors should “not require an individual to work in or for a laboratory in order to be eligible for TN status in the SciTech category.” AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 08110768 (posted 11/07/08) (emphasis added).According to CBP, “[e]ligibility for the category will, among other things, depend on the job duties being performed and whether the applicant is assisting a degreed professional in the performance of his or her duties.” Id.