Management Consultant

Overview & Job Duties

The Management Consultant category is one of the most popular, but also one of the most scrutinized TN occupations. It is intended for professionals who are retained by a U.S. corporation to look at the “big picture” of its organization and make suggestions or recommendations for change or improvement. 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. Keep in mind, management consultants are not permitted to have hands-on responsibilities. They generally must only observe and provide guidance regarding an aspect of a company’s operations, and despite the title, management consultants also cannot serve as managers or have any managerial duties.

Qualifications & Sponsorship

To qualify for TN status as a Management Consultant, an applicant must possess one of the following:

  • 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.

Please note: a qualifying degree must be in the same field or a closely related field. Adjudicating officers are instructed to use “good judgment” in determining whether a degree in an allied field is appropriate.

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

  • Direct Sponsorship: A company will sponsor the Management Consultant’s application, and he or she will only provide services for that 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.

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, but that 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.

Canadian or Mexican citizens seeking to engage in self-employment in trade or investment activities in the U.S, should consider either a treaty trader (E-1) or treaty investor (E-2) visa. For more information on E visa, please visit our contact us.