Engineer TN Visa Approval - Third-Party Employment Arrangement.

Prior History:

Our client previously applied for a TN at Detroit port-of-entry. The inspecting officer denied the application because the employer letter lacked the basic information for a TN and on the basis that the U.S. employer had contracted our client’s services through his Canadian engineering company. The inspector did not think that NAFTA permitted this “third-party” employment arrangement. See copy of the inspector’s refusal sheet.

Analysis & Solution:

The client retained our firm to rehabilitate his case. We did not see any issues on the merits of his application. The position fell under the Engineering occupational category and the client possessed a degree in Engineering. We prepared a revised employment letter, which addressed the shortcomings of the original letter and fully established the client’s qualifications for a TN as an Engineer.

We then addressed the “third-party” employment arrangement issue. Under NAFTA, a Canadian citizen “who is self-employed abroad” may obtain entry to the U.S. under TN status “pursuant to a pre-arranged agreement with an enterprise owned by a person or entity other than him/herself located in the U.S.” 14-1 INS Manuals, NAFTA Handbook (Nov. 1999).

Here the U.S. employer had entered into a Purchase Order agreement with the client’s Canadian company (a sole proprietorship) for the provision of engineering services by the client. This arrangement was clearly authorized by the NAFTA Handbook. In our TN application materials, we prepared a detailed Attorney Letter to CBP outlining the above rule and its application to the facts of this case. In addition to documentary evidence of the client’s ownership and operation of his Canadian engineering company, we also attached a copy of the Purchase Order to the TN application.


The Buffalo port-of-entry concurred with our analysis and issued the TN.