Canada and Mexico citizens can seek a TN visa and engage in business activities in the United States under The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

A TN visa is designed to allow certain professionals from Canada and Mexico – NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States.

This article will explain how Industrial Designers from Canada and Mexico can apply for a TN nonimmigrant visa.

The complete list of NAFTA professions you can find here.

The general job duty of industrial designers is to create a design for manufactured products, and their work is devoted to providing the best solution for both manufacturers and users. This profession brings together art, engineering, and business to provide the best design concepts.

As other general duties, we can consider those stated in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH):

  1. Communication with clients
  2. Market research
  3. Drawing and sketching visuals by hand or by computer software
  4. Developing prototypes and presenting them to clients
  5. Predict costs and efficient use of materials
  6. Examine all practicability factors

To be qualified to obtain a TN visa as an Industrial Designer, the nonimmigrant is required to have and to be able to prove one of the following educational requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s degree;
  2. Licenciatura Degree;
  3. Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate in Industrial Design or related field and three years of experience in Industrial Design.

TN visa regulations do not cover the requested degree type, so the OOH can be used as guidance instead. Therefore, the degree has to be in the field of Industrial Design or firmly related to it, such as architecture or engineering.

Post-Secondary Diploma is a proof of qualifications issued by an accredited post-secondary institution in Canada or the U.S. to a TN nonimmigrant who had not less than two years of post-secondary education.

A post-Secondary Certificate is a proof of qualifications issued by an accredited post-secondary institution by the federal or state government of Mexico. The Certificate is issued to a TN nonimmigrant who had not less than two years of post-secondary education. Also, it can be given if the federal or state government recognizes the academic institution, or the institution can be established by federal or state law.

According to OOH, more than 360 different post-secondary institutions provide professionals with the necessary knowledge in arts and design.

It is recommended to have a prepared electronic portfolio of designs while applying for a TN visa.

Additional requirements that TN nonimmigrants have to submit are:

  1. Proof of Mexican or Canadian citizenship (passport);
  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 intend 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.

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