I'm a Canadian citizen going to work in the US for 5 months starting in May. My employer said that due to the fact I'm being hired a little late in the game, and the H1B work VISA takes several months to complete, and given the fact that this is an internship, he said to simply come for 90 days and work as a contract worker, go back to Canada shortly, then come back again for the remaining period.

Now he said the company lawyers said this is completely fine, and I have no reason to think otherwise, but just to make sure: is this okay/common practice? When I get to the border and they ask my reason for travel, am I able to say work?

  • 1
    I'd find out what the statutory cool-down time is. I'd imagine that repeated visits of such duration and frequency are red flags for any civil servants you have to deal with.
    – Onno
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 3:37
  • Hey Doug. It really sounds like these are questions you should be asking your company's lawyers rather than us here. I would feel incredibly uncomfortable knowing that any answer I provided would be used to 'make sure' over the advice of trained legal professionals.
    – jmac
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 6:39
  • 1
    Where does this 90 days come from? AFAIUI TN status (no visa required) for qualifying Canadian professionals lasts up to 3 years. H1B is for non-NAFTA citizenships. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 12:45
  • You seem to have asked this on Travel.SE as well: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/25580/… Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 10:45

2 Answers 2


I've pasted the following from Canada.usembassy.gov:

The visa category "Professionals Under the North American Free Trade Agreement" (also known as a TN Visa) is available only to citizens of Canada and Mexico, under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Qualifications for a "TN" visa

A citizen of a NAFTA country may work in a professional occupation in the U.S. provided:

  • the profession is recognized under NAFTA; and
  • the alien possesses the specific criteria for that profession; and
  • the prospective position requires someone in that professional capacity; and
  • the alien is going to work for a U.S. employer. If all of these conditions are met, then a TN may be issued.

Generally H1B is a professional visa. Can you edit your post to indicate whether you are a Canadian citizen?

  • Edited my post.
    – Doug Smith
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 4:36


Eligibility for NAFTA Professional (TN) Nonimmigrant Status

Canadians and Mexicans may be eligible to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals under the following conditions:

    Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
    Profession is on the NAFTA list;
    Position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
    Applicant will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for an employer (see Required Documentation). Self employment is not permitted;
    Applicant has the qualifications, meeting the specific requirements, education, and/or experience, of the profession.

With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement. If a baccalaureate is required, experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative to a bachelor's degree is listed. For some professions, experience is required in addition to the degree. For a complete list of professions with minimum education requirements and alternative credentials, see Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA Chapter 16.

Note: Requirements for Canadians and Mexicans are different, as explained below.

Requirements for Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens usually do not need a visa as a NAFTA Professional, although a visa can be issued to qualified Canadian TN visa applicants upon request.

A Canadian citizen without a TN visa can apply for TN nonimmigrant status at a U.S. port-of-entry. Learn about these requirements on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) websites. More information about TN nonimmigrant status is also available on the U.S. Embassy Ottawa website.

If you are applying for TN status, you should make sure you have the required fee and documentation (including an appropriate letter from the employer) at the border inspection, otherwise you're not going to be admitted.

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