The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) developed the TN visa category to facilitate the entry of professionals across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico for temporary employment purposes. NAFTA created a list of more than sixty professional designations through which applicants may be eligible for TN status. Each professional designation on this list requires applicants to possess either a Bachelor’s Degree or some form of certification, training, or licensure. However, there is one very popular exception to this rule: the Management Consultant TN designation.
NAFTA dictates that an applicant may be eligible for the Management Consultant designation where he or she possesses at least one of the following: a Bachelor’s Degree, five years of experience in the industry relating to the applicant’s assignment in the U.S., or five years of experience as a Management Consultant. Here, unlike with all other NAFTA professions, experience alone can establish eligibility.
Description of Management Consultant Role
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Management Consultants propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They also advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues. Management Consultants do not have hands-on responsibilities, but rather observe and provide guidance for improving a company’s operations. Despite the title, Management Consultants do not have management duties.
Because the Management Consultant designation does not require a Bachelor’s Degree or any other type of certification or training, it is heavily pursued by individuals lacking post-secondary education. Further, because NAFTA does not include a professional designation for general business managers or executives, the Management Consultant designation faces mistreatment as a “catch-all” for business professionals. As a result, this designation is often subject to abuse and even fraud.
Canadians can apply for TN status as a Management Consultant through the mail or directly at a border port of entry. Under the mail-in method, an applicant sends his or her materials to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). For an additional fee, USCIS can adjudicate these petitions within 15 days of filing. When a Canadian applies for TN status directly at a border port of entry, the applicant personally submits his or her materials to a Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer. CBP will make its determination during this inspection. Please note that a Mexican citizen may apply directly at a U.S. Consulate in Mexico for the Management Consultant TN visa.
Like all other TN designations, the government will approve a TN Management Consultant application for up to three years. This approval period is often determined by the length of the assignment in the U.S. and the petitioner’s overall need for the applicant’s services. Accordingly, it is best practice to include a contract between the applicant and employer specifying the intended period of the applicant’s services.
The ideal candidate for the Management Consultant designation either has his or her own consulting business abroad or has accumulated several years of professional experience in a particular industry. This individual is temporarily engaged by a U.S. employer to provide guidance to the business regarding its operations, efficiency, and overall profitability. Alternatively, the U.S. employer is a consulting firm that engages the Management Consultant to provide consulting services to the firm’s clients. Management Consultants typically receive high remuneration for their services.
Berardi Immigration Law regularly prepares applications with great success for individuals seeking the TN Management Consultant designation. If you believe you may qualify, please call or email our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.