The Management Consultant category is one of the most popular yet widely misunderstood occupational categories under the NAFTA treaty. As set forth by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Consultants “propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency” and “advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.” The quintessential Management Consultant is highly experienced and/or educated in a given field. They are well-equipped to analyze a particular issue or a process within an organization and provide recommendations, best practices, and plans for improvement.

To qualify as a Management Consultant, the applicant must possess one of the following:

  • A Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) or Licenciatura degree;
  • Five years of professional experience as a Management Consultant; or
  • Five years of experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting assignment.

Management Consultants cannot have hands-on responsibilities; they generally may only observe and provide guidance regarding an aspect of a company’s operations. Despite the title, Management Consultants also cannot serve as managers or have any managerial duties.

Sponsorship Methods

There are two common sponsorship methods used for this occupational category:

  • Direct Sponsorship: A company will sponsor the Management Consultant’s application, and the Management Consultant will only provide services for this company. The applicant will be granted status for a period of time necessary to complete the consulting assignment.
  • Employment in a Consulting Firm: A Management Consulting firm can sponsor the applicant, and the applicant will provide management consulting services to the firm’s clients on an ongoing basis. Here, the Management Consultant often serves as an employee of the firm and will be granted status for the maximum period of three years.

Heightened Scrutiny

The Management Consultant category is one of the only occupational categories under NAFTA that does not require a Bachelor’s degree. In addition, aside from “Economist” and “Accountant,” there are no occupational categories for other classes of business professionals such as Financial Analysts and Marketers. This has led the Management Consultant category to be abused as a “catch-all” designation by individuals who either lack a Bachelor’s degree or who are part of professions that are not recognized under the NAFTA treaty. The Management Consultant designation has now become one of the most highly scrutinized TN categories. Applicants must exercise great caution when submitting these applications to avoid any suspicion of fraud or impropriety.

Common Issues

There are numerous potential pitfalls in this category. For instance, an issue often arises where the applicant attempts to qualify as a Management Consultant based on his or her education, yet this education bears little in common with the consulting assignment. Further, there must be a clear showing that the applicant will be paid directly or indirectly by the sponsoring entity. The Management Consultant cannot be paid through his or her personal consulting company based in the U.S., as this leads to a presumption of self-employment, which is prohibited under the TN regulations.  Each application must also include sufficient proof of the consulting agreement.


Berardi Immigration Law regularly prepares successful Management Consultant applications. If you believe you may qualify, please call or email our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.