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

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

The complete list of NAFTA professions you can find here.

TN Visa for nonimmigrants allows Canada and Mexico citizens to enter the United States and get employment under a U.S. employer or other U.S. entity. One of the available professions to apply for is a Research Assistant category under The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

A research assistant works under the principal researcher’s supervision, and his or her main task is to assist academic researchers and research projects. It is possible to get this job only in a post-secondary educational institution. The petitioner can consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor to determine what are other general duties for this profession. However, there is no specific regulation about research assistant occupation in the OOH so, the guidance can also be found in the National Occupational Classification.

Some of those duties are:

  1. Collecting data through different methodology
  2. Data interpretation and analysis
  3. Management of research activities
  4. Prepare publications and presentations
  5. Determine research techniques and prepare equipment or software management
  6. Communicate with the principal researcher
  7. Other tasks to support research activities

Concrete duties are getting determined under the research subject, and they can include interviewing or conducting experiments. Additional required skills are computer skills and statistical analysis.

It is necessary to have one of the following educational requirements to be eligible to obtain a TN visa:

  1. Bachelor’s degree or
  2. Licenciatura degree.

Petitioner has to present proof of his or her education.

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 letter of support by the employer, 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 should 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. The decision is made immediately.

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.

A decision about petitioners’ eligibility is made based on the extent to which his or her education matches the job duties stated in the job offer. Moreover, a cover letter should contain a detailed explanation of why that job position falls under the TN visa category Research Assistant.

TN visa for Research Assistants can be approved for a maximum of three years, although usually one year gets approved due to the length of the academic year. It is possible to seek an extension for the same period while the extension number is unlimited.

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