TN Visa: Lawyer

Background of TN Visa Category

The TN visa occupational category for Lawyers was first listed in the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1989. See 54 Federal Register 12 (Jan. 3, 1989). The predecessor to NAFTA, the FTA provided work authorization under TC visa status, which was only available to Canadian citizens. The occupational category for Lawyers was carried over and included in the NAFTA list of available occupations in 1994. See 58 FR 69205 (Dec. 30, 1993).

TN Visa Applicant Requirements

Initially, under the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (the predecessor to NAFTA), an individual could qualify as a Lawyer only by being a member of a provincial or state bar, or by possessing an L.L.B., or J.D. 54 FR 48575 (Nov. 24, 1989). In 1991, an L.L.L. and B.C.L. degree were added as alternative credentials to qualify as a Lawyer. 56 FR 480 (Jan. 7, 1991).

Except for the addition of a Licenciatura Degree, the credentials acceptable for eligibility under the Lawyer category remained unchanged following the implementation of NAFTA. To qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for Lawyers, an individual must possess one of the following:
  • Bachelor of Laws degree (L.L.B.);
  • Juris Doctor degree (J.D.);
  • Civil Law degree (L.L.L.);
  • Bachelor of Civil Law degree (B.C.L.);
  • Licenciatura degree (five years); or
  • Membership in a state / provincial bar.
Additional information on the educational requirements for a Lawyer for purposes of a TN visa may be found in the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). See Royal Siam Corp. v. Chertoff, 484 F.3d 139, 145 (1st Cir. 2007).

Read more about the TN visa degree requirements.

TN Visa Job Duties Requirements

The TN visa regulations do not specifically define the types of Lawyer positions or job duties that are permissible under this TN category. Like the degree requirement, individuals should refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for guidance on the generally accepted job duties for this occupation.

In re X, LIN 98 137 50919 (AAU Aug. 6, 1999), the AAU overturned the denial of a TN visa petition for a Lawyer who was to provide advice to a ranch with respect to Mexican law, export tariffs, and health regulations.

Read more about TN visa job duties.



Revised Oct. 8, 2013.