Does My Job Title Need to Match a TN Occupational Classification?


The TN (Treaty NAFTA) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work temporarily in the United States if certain requirements are met. One of those requirements is that the position matches a TN occupational classifications (see NAFTA list). The NAFTA list identifies 63 different occupational classifications. But does that mean that the job title of your proposed position must also match one of these TN occupational classification?

The simple answer is no. Often, real-world job titles are not identical to the TN occupational classifications listed above. In fact, what may be called one job title in one company may be a different job title at another company. And that alone is not actually a problem.

There is no requirement that the job title a company uses matches a NAFTA occupational classification. The important focus is the job duties (rather than the job title) and whether the applicant has the proper qualifications (education and/or experience) required on the NAFTA list. This information can be demonstrated through legal argument and a number of supporting documents, including a well-written employer letter.

Each applicant’s eligibility for a TN visa should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. As an example, perhaps an individual has been hired to work as a Computer Consultant. That job title does not appear on the NAFTA list as a TN occupational classification. But we can review the proposed job description and the applicant’s education and experience and perhaps the position will fall under the Computer Systems Analyst classification. The TN visa applicant does not need to change his or her proposed job title to “Computer Systems Analyst” in order to apply for the TN visa under this category. However, he or she still needs to prove that all of the related requirements are still met for this designation.

Because the job title does not need to be identical to one of the TN occupational classifications, this opens the door to more potential TN visa applicants. Some individuals who thought their only option was to file for an H-1B visa may find some relief in the TN visa option.

There are many advantages to filing for a TN visa if your position (not the title) arguably matches one of the TN occupational classifications and other basic requirements are met. With a TN visa, there is no mandatory cap. There are no recruitment requirements. There isn’t even a need to calculate a prevailing wage level. Furthermore, a TN visa can be issued very quickly, particularly when documentation is first reviewed and prepared by a qualified immigration attorney. Filing fees are also lower than those related to the H-1B process.

If you missed out on the H-1b cap, the TN may be a viable option, even when the job title is not identical to the NAFTA list of occupations.

About The Author

Christy Turovskiy is an associate attorney at Hammond Law Group. She is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree, Cum Laude, from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She is admitted to the practice of law in the State of Ohio. Christy focuses her employment immigration practice on Fortune 500 companies, working with H-1B specialty occupation workers, L-1 intracompany transferees, O-1 extraordinary ability work visa applicants, and TN Trade NAFTA professionals. She also represents clients who are seeking permanent resident status, including those cases involving extraordinary ability, outstanding professor/researcher, and National Interest Waivers.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.