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Does your short-term project in the U.S. require work authorization?

If you are coming to the U.S. to do “productive work,” even for a short period of time, you must be authorized by the U.S. government to do so.

Berardi Immigration Law was recently retained by an independent film company who wanted to obtain work authorization for a Canadian Graphic Designer who has extensive experience in the motion picture industry. The company wanted to bring him into the U.S. to work on a film that is currently in production – but he was only needed for a two month period.

Our attorneys analyzed the nature of the work to be conducted in the U.S. and determined that it was outside of the activities allowed under the B-1/B-2 visa category (Business/Tourist) and would, therefore, require work authorization.  The next step was to determine which employment-based category the worker would qualify under.

To qualify for TN visa status under NAFTA as a Graphic Designer, an applicant must possess one of the following:

1. A Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) degree;

2. Licenciatura Degree; or a

3. Post-Secondary Diploma or Certificate and three years’ experience.
Our client did not have a degree in Graphic Design, but our attorney was able to build a case demonstrating how the client’s degree in Film Studies was sufficient.  A careful explanation was drafted detailing the applicant’s qualifications, the job duties and requirements and supplying specific government regulation to bolster the argument.

Associate Attorney Jennifer Early accompanied the applicant to the Peace Bridge. He submitted his application for TN status and was quickly approved for the requested two-month period required for this project.

It can be difficult for foreign workers, who wish to come to the United States for business purposes, to understand when a B-1 Business Visitor Visa is sufficient and when Work Authorization is required. Working in the U.S. without the appropriate authorization can have life-long consequences. Therefore, a careful analysis of the work to be completed in the U.S. should be undertaken before a decision is made as to the appropriate documentation that will be needed. More information on the B-1 or B-2 visa categories can be found here:

We encourage you to contact our Immigration Attorneys for a thorough analysis of your case prior to presenting an application at the Peace Bridge or other port of entry.  Let us help you cross the border with confidence!