NAFTA TN Accountants –
Eligibility as a Certified Management Accountant (“CMA”).
Question: Can I qualify for a TN visa under NAFTA if I am a Certified Management Accountant? Also, is it important where I get my certification from?
Answer: You should qualify for TN status under the Accountant category if you obtain a CMA from either The Institute of Management Accountants in the U.S. or from The Society of Management Accountants of Canada.
A Canadian professional can present a multitude of credentials to qualify for TN status under NAFTA as an Accountant. The NAFTA TN regulations provide that an applicant for a TN as an Accountant must possess at least one of the following: (1) A Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) degree; (2) Licenciatura Degree; (3) Certification as a Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.); (4) Certification as a Chartered Accountant (C.A.); (5) Certification as a Certified General Accountant (C.G.A.); or (6) Certification as a Certified Management Accountant (C.M.A.).
A Canadian professional should qualify for a TN under the Accountant category if he or she has obtained a CMA from either The Institute of Management Accountants in the U.S. or from The Society of Management Accountants of Canada. The Institute of Management Accountants (“IMA”) confers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation upon applicants who complete a bachelor’s degree or who attain a score in the 50th percentile or higher on either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants must pass a four-part examination, agree to meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct.
A CMA from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) should be sufficient for qualification for TN status as an Accountant. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, a reference used by U.S. immigration for deciding TN applications, specifically mentions the IMA as conferring the CMA certification, so I would feel comfortable making this argument. See Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Accountants and Auditors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm (visited January 25, 2007).
In Canada, there are three recognized accounting bodies: the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CA), the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA), and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA). The OOH does not mention The Society of Management Accountants of Canada as an entity that confers a CMA (although I would not expect it to do so as the OOH tends to focus on U.S. organizations). To earn the CMA designation from The Society of Management Accountants of Canada, a prospective member must possess: (a) Complete a University Degree; (b) Pass the Entrance Examination; and (c) Complete a two-year Strategic Leadership Program while gaining Practical Experience in a management accounting environment.
Because the Society of Management Accountants of Canada is one of the three recognized accounting bodies in Canada and the CMA program requires a candidate to obtain a degree as a program entry requirement, a CMA issued from this organization should be equally acceptable as evidence for qualification for a TN as an Accountant.
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Contact Immigration Attorney Brian D. Zuccaro for answers to your NAFTA TN status questions.