June 1997 CEN-TAPEDE - Treaty NAFTA Work Rules, Departure Tax, Social Security Rules Changed for 1997, TN Visa Checklist

June 1997  


WARNING - Departure Tax

FREE TRADE!!!! One of the most asked questions to the office is "How do I work in the United States under FREE TRADE?" The following gives the requirements for a TN (Treaty NAFTA) visa and is taken from my BORDER BOOK


On December 8, 1993, President Clinton signed the NAFTA Agreement which took effect on January 1, 1994 under 101(a)(15). This agreement allowed Canadian Professionals to qualify for a job in the U.S. within the same day if all the "ducks" are in order. A family would "go south" with a combination of TD and TN visas.

TD - Spouse or Child of NAFTA Professional under 214(e)(2) (TN holder)

TN - NAFTA Professional - (North America Free Trade Agreement) PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS PERSON

A professional is defined as a person with a minimum of a bachelor's degree, who applies for a position which requires a UNIVERSITY degree as its minimum entry-level requirement unless otherwise specified. To meet this classification as a Canadian, you must have a bone fide job offer and all licences and degrees in place for your profession.


CHECK LIST for the TN Visa


_X_ An applicant for admission must establish Canadian citizenship

_X_ The applicant must be entering the United States to engage in a profession or

occupation at a professional level under NAFTA

_X_ The applicant must be in possession of an offer or contract of employment

from a United States employer stating:

1) The professional activity to be engaged in

2) Purpose of entry

3) Remuneration

4) That the position is temporary in nature and will not exceed one year (although it can be renewed)

_X_ The applicant must provide documentation of his or her educational degree or

professional qualifications

_X_ The applicant must meet all licensing requirements

_X_ Employment need not be full-time

_X_ Permanent residence abroad is not a prerequisite

_X_ Maximum period of admission of a TN is one year

_X_ TN dependants accompanying the principal TN will be admitted under the

"TD" classification for the same amount of time as the principal

_X_ A $50 U.S. fee is required

_X_ TN applicants are not permitted to enter as a professional to

participate in any way to circumvent a strike


The following is a partial list of some who qualify under a TN Visa. Please note that extensive experience can equal a degree in many cases. All need a Bachelor or Baccalaureate degree unless otherwise noted.


* Accountants - RIA or SIA or CPA or CGA or CMA or CA

* Agriculturalists

* Agronomists

* Animal Breeders

* Animal Scientists

* Apiculturist

* Architects - BA or state / provincial licence

* Astronomers

* Biochemists

* Biologists

* Botanists

* Chemists

* Computer Systems Analyst - BA or Post-secondary Diploma or Post-secondary certificate and three years of practical experience

* Computer Systems Programmer

* Dairy Scientists

* Dentists - DDS, DMD, or state / provincial licence

* Dental Technicians

* Dietitian

* Disaster Relief Insurance Claim Specialists - (claims adjuster employed by an insurance company located in the territory of a party or an independent claims adjuster) - BA and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or, three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims

* Doctors - (see physician further on)

* Economists

* Engineers - BA or state / provincial licensing

* Entomologists

* Epidemiologists

* Forester - BA or state / provincial licensing

* Geneticists

* Geochemist

* Geologist

* Geophysicists (including Oceanographer in the United States)

* Graphic Designer - BA or post-secondary diploma and three years experience.

* Hotel Managers - BA in hotel / restaurant management; or, post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate in hotel / restaurant management and three years experience in hotel / restaurant management

* Horticulturist

* Industrial Designer - BA or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate and three years experience

* Interior Designer - BA or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate and three years experience

* Journalist BA plus three years experience - (This category is no longer valid and has been left in to explain the circumstances. As I understand it, journalists in general took it as an insult that they had to have a BA degree, because, "most, if not all," of the best known journalists do not have a BA degree.)

* Land Surveyor - BA or state / provincial licences

* Landscape Architect

* Lawyer (including notary in the Province of Quebec) - LLB, JD, LLL, BCL degree (five years); or membership in a state or provincial bar

* Librarians - MLS or BLS (for which another BA was a prerequisite)

* Management Consultants - BA; or equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant, or five years experience in a field of specialty relating to the consulting agreement

* Mathematician (including statistician)

* Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada) / Medical Technologist (U.S.) - BA; or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate and three years experience

* Meteorologist

* Nutritionist

* Occupational Therapist - BA; or state / provincial license

* Organic Chemist

* Pharmacologist (Pharmacist) - BA; or state / provincial license

* Physician - (teaching or research only), MD or state / provincial licence. To work as MD, a doctor must pass his MLE (medical licensing exam) which has three parts written over a year. After passing, he or she would enter the U.S. under an H-1A.

* Physicist (including oceanographer in Canada)

* Physiotherapist / Physical Therapist - BA; or state / provincial license

* Plant Breeder

* Poultry Scientist

* Professional (most recognized professions)

* Psychologists - state / provincial license

* Range Conservationist

* Recreational Therapist

* Registered Nurse - state / provincial license

* Research Assistant (working in post-secondary educational institution)

* Scientific Technician - Possession of: (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research.

* Social Worker

* Soil Scientist

* Sylviculturist

* Teacher (College, Seminary, or University) (Post Secondary level only)

* Technical Publication Writer - BA, or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate, and three years experience

* Urban Planner (including geographer)

* Veterinarian

* Vocational Counsellor

* Zoologist


This list is subject to change at any time. When talking to Dennis Olsen about updating the rules, I mentioned a nurse who had found out that nurses could go south instantly in the late 1970's. She got a job offer from a Hawaii hospital, came back to Vancouver, quit her job, sold her house, kicked out her husband, gave away the dogs and showed up at the airport to move to Hawaii, only to find out that they had closed the quota for nurses.

And then, as I was writing this exact section of the book in March, 1995, I received a call from a Doctor who had a job offer from the U.S., sold his house and Canadian practice, only to be told that he did not qualify when he showed up at the border because although a practicing family physician in Canada and fully qualified to go south with a Green Card (a resident alien immigrant visa), he did not qualify as a TN (can only teach or do research) and he did not qualify as an H-1B because he had not written an MLE. This medical licensing exam is written in three stages over a one year timetable. I guess he has to sue his immigration attorney in Los Angeles. This attorney knew he did not have his MLE, but charged him significant monies and told him he could get in now!

Remember, A TN is valid for less than one year only although it can be renewed indefinitely. You may work AND LIVE in the U.S. Your spouse and children cannot work, even as a VOLUNTEER at the library. Once in the U.S., you can apply for permanent status.


March 8, 1995 - When a Canadian leaves Canada to move to the U.S., there is a departure tax. This means that all of the Canadian's assets are deemed "to have been sold" at fair market value the day before he or she leaves. If there are "paper profits," tax is due on this paper profit although a bond may be posted. The United States did not have this departure tax because the U.S. citizen has to keep on filing U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURNS while out of the country for as long as they remain a U.S. citizen. If they gave up their citizenship, they could own a million dollars worth of assets that they had paid a dollar for and their "paper profit" would have just disappeared into the mist. Section 352 of the new Legal Immigrant and Illegal Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 states that the U.S. Citizen who gives up their citizenship to avoid U.S. income taxation is also banned from ever returning to the U.S. for any purpose.

If you have not been filing your U.S. returns, be sure and catch up now. Penalties are too large to ignore. Ask for the Sept 95 newsletter for examples of U.S. enforcement methods. Ask for Oct 95 for the rules for U.S. citizens living in Canada.



If you transfer or take more than $10,000 in or out of the U.S., the NEXT FOUR PAGES are VERY IMPORTANT. As Page 268 shows, the penalty for failing to comply could be $500,000 PLUS 5 years in jail.



After the debacle caused by the changes to Social Security taxation in Canada which was introduced with the 1996 changes to the US / CANADA Tax convention, I am pleased to see that the situation has changed. In 1996, Social Security was taxed only in the United States. In 1997, it will go back to pre 1996 rules and have 50% taxed in Canada for non-resident non-citizen (of the U.S.) recipients. At the moment, there does not seem to be any indication that it will be retroactive to 1996 but "STAY TUNED", we will let you know soon. If you want the Social Security tax rules for 1996, ask for the January, 1996 edition of the CEN-TAPEDE.

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