TN Visa: Seminary Teacher

Background of TN Visa Category

The TN visa occupational category for Seminary Teachers 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 College/University Teachers 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

To qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for Seminary Teachers, an individual must possess one of the following:
  • Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) degree; or
  • Licenciatura Degree.
The regulations governing TN visa status generally do not provide any guidance on the type of degrees or majors suitable for a particular TN occupational category. To determine the types of degrees suitable for Seminary Teachers for purposes of a TN visa, we may refer to U.S. Department of Labor publications such as the 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 Seminary teaching 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.

The R-1 visa classification provides employment authorization for religious workers to work as ministers, or in a religious vocation or occupation. Changes to the R-1 visa, which include an I-129 petition filing requirement, extensive supporting documentation, and possible work site inspections, have made the R-1 visa classification particularly burdensome. Religious workers who are citizens of Canada or Mexico who will teach at a seminary may find a less onerous process through the TN visa classification under the Seminary Teacher category.

Read more about TN visa job duties.