The applicant in this case, a citizen of Canada, had a job opportunity with a sports broadcasting company where he would be responsible for the design, building, and development of graphic design projects for broadcasts of NHL hockey games. The applicant possessed a post-secondary diploma in Broadcasting - Radio and Film and fifteen years of professional graphic design experience.
As the employer was not interested in pursuing an H-1B visa for this individual (as is frequently the case), the TN visa presented itself as the most viable solution. Our first task in this case was to confirm that the position offered fell within one of the 63 occupations available under NAFTA. Although the position involved sports broadcasting, the principle duties appeared to encompass graphic design work.
To determine whether the position would fall under the Graphic Designer TN category, we first looked at the description of that occupation in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Although not specifically mentioning sports broadcasting as a graphic design field, the applicant’s core job duties were consistent with the description of a Graphic Designer as provided for in the OOH. Furthermore, the applicant’s job duties were very similar to recent employment postings that categorized the position advertised as a Graphic Designer.
Next we needed to evaluate whether the applicant possessed the requisite credentials for TN visa status as a Graphic Designer. To qualify under this category, an individual must have either (1) a bachelor’s degree; or (2) a post-secondary diploma and three years of experience. As the applicant did not possess a bachelor’s degree, he would have to rely upon his post-secondary diploma and experience to qualify for the TN visa.
As the applicant’s diploma was not specifically in graphic design, we would have to argue that it was sufficiently related to qualify. (In most TN visa cases, a related degree is sufficient). To determine the types of degrees suitable for a Graphic Designer position, again, reference may be made to the OOH. The OOH did not specifically reference the applicant’s degree (i.e. Broadcasting - Radio and Film) as a normal credential for a Graphic Designer. However, the applicant had completed several courses that the OOH stated would prepare one for the field.
To support the applicant’s case for a TN visa, in addition to assisting with the preparation of a detailed employer letter, we prepared a legal brief to outline how the applicant met the requirements for a Graphic Designer TN visa. The brief explained how the position offered fell under the Graphic Designer category based on the OOH and employment postings. The brief also explained how the applicant’s diploma established his eligibility for the TN based on his completion of appropriate coursework and upon decisions of the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office approving visa applications for Graphic Designers who possessed comparable educational credentials.
Following review of the application at the border, CBP issued the applicant TN visa status valid for a three year period.