Our office recently obtained the approval of a TN visa application under the Engineer (Software) category for a citizen of Canada who possessed an Electronic Engineering diploma from a university in Russia.
The individual’s job offer in the U.S. involved the design, engineering, and deployment of web-based applications and software solutions for the insurance industry. We saw no issue in classifying this position under the TN category for Engineers, which includes Software Engineering positions.
The main concern we had was whether CBP would accept this individual’s Electronic Engineering diploma as a suitable credential for a Software Engineer. CBP has frequently required a specific degree in the field for this TN category, e.g. a Computer Science or Software Engineering degree. See my prior post on degrees for Software Engineers.
Our first task was to confirm that the diploma was the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree, which is a requirement under the TN visa classification for degrees issued outside of the NAFTA countries. See TN visa degree requirements. We obtained an evaluation finding that the diploma was the equivalent to a U.S. Master’s degree.
As the burden in visa applications is on the applicant to establish eligibility (see INA s. 291), we next had to prepare our argument to show that an Electronic Engineering degree was a suitable credential for a Software Engineer. As part of our legal services provided, we prepared a legal brief that outlined the relevant U.S. immigration law and guidance, which stated that a specific degree in the field is generally not required for a TN visa application.
Our brief also included supporting research that confirmed that an individual with an Electronic Engineering degree could qualify for a Software Engineer position. This research consisted of documentation from the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and USCIS Office of Administrative Appeals decisions approving visa applications for Software Engineering positions for individuals with degrees in a variety of engineering disciplines.
Following review of these TN visa application materials, and an interview of the applicant, CBP officials at a land port-of-entry issued the individual TN visa status for a 3 year period.