Canadian and Mexican citizens can get employment in the United States under The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). One of the available occupations to apply for is the Architect profession.

The complete list of NAFTA professions you can find here.

Architects work on planning and designing different structures, like houses, factories, office buildings, etc.

Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), published by the U.S. Department of Labor, lists job duties that are typical for architects:

  1. Communication with clients to determine requirements
  2. Predict costs and budget
  3. Give instructions to people who work on documents and drawings
  4. Work on scaled drawings
  5. Provide and manage all the necessary contract documentation for contractors
  6. Monitor the workplace to make sure that work is performing following the plan
  7. Marketing activities that lead to a new work

There are no specific TN visa regulations that establish which degrees are suitable for the architect category, so the guidance can also be found in the OOH.

To be qualified to obtain a TN visa as an architect, the nonimmigrant has to earn and prove one of the following:

  1. Bachelor’s degree or Licenciatura Degree
  2. State License or Provincial License

State or a provincial license presents any document issued by a state, provincial, or federal government, as the case may be, or under its authority, but not by a local government, that permits a person to be engaged in a regulated activity or profession.

Additional requirements that TN nonimmigrants have to submit are:

  1. Proof of Mexican or Canadian citizenship;
  2. A proof of the job offer written as the employer’s letter of support, with all job details;
  3. A proof that a nonimmigrant does not have the intention to stay in the U.S. after the TN visa expires.

How to seek admission as a TN nonimmigrant?

Canadian citizens can apply with all required documentation to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the U.S. Port of Entry since they are not required to obtain a visa first. It is also possible to apply at a pre-flight inspection or an airport after arriving in the United States.

On the other hand, Mexican citizens should apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. After the TN visa is approved, they can seek admission at the U.S. Port of Entry.

Both Canadian and Mexican citizens can file the online I-129 petition with USCIS.

What are the possible issues?

To be eligible to apply for TN visa status as an architect, a person must be licensed. This can be inconvenient since a licensure period can last for years. However, it is possible to obtain a TN visa and work in the field of architecture even if a person is not licensed. In this case, the condition that has to be fulfilled is that an unlicensed architect has to work under the supervision of the licensed one. Also, it is crucial to check the architecture laws and regulations of the state where the job is before applying because not all the titles for the unlicensed architect fall under the architect TN category.

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