Warning: Make sure the US company agrees to Sponsor you for a US Work Visa before accepting the Job

It is an all too often scenario where we see Canadian citizens and other nationals offered US jobs only to find out that their company does not “sponsor people for US work visas”. Many people go into employment negotiations assuming that all that is required to work in the US is to obtain a job offer and volia, they can work in the US. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Not only does the applicant (foreign worker) have to qualify for the US work visa, but the US company has agree to hire non-US citizens or non-Green Card holders.

Below is an recent email exchange between myself and someone who received a job offer from the Oprah Winfrey Show only to be told by their HR Department later on that they don’t do Visas. (all names have been removed for privacy)


Hi Michael,

I just spent a good part of the morning speaking to the VP of Human Resources at Harpo.  She says that Harpo DOES NOT issue visas and she is not willing to make an exception in my case.

She has officially retracted the offer 🙁

I’m heartbroken, but you did warn me that some companies just wont do it.

I can’t thank you enough for all your counseling and patience the last 6 months. You’ve been a God Sent.

I’m going to head back to Toronto next week and regroup.

I’ll attempt this again once I’ve gotten back on my feet a bit.

I guarantee I’ll need your services in the very near future, and as promised, will never go to anyone but you!

Thanks again Michael,


Hi S

I am so sorry to hear that.

It is unfortunate that often these companies do not understand NAFTA provisions. Unlike with other visa applications, with TN NAFTA applications the company is really not sponsoring you at all. All they are doing is offering you the job with a job offer letter (like they would with a US Citizen) and that is it. You do all the rest. The visa is issued to you by US Customs and Border Protection not by the company. For other visas, things are different.

Anyway I am sure you will find a suitable employer and we are available anytime to answer your questions.

Best of luck


Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

4 thoughts on “Warning: Make sure the US company agrees to Sponsor you for a US Work Visa before accepting the Job

  1. Manny

    Many US companies say in their job posting as “No sponsorship for H1B or TN visa”.
    It appears that TN visa is not accepted by US employers in 2016. Companies are against hiring Canadians under NAFTA. Is there information on how many TN visas were issued in 2016 compared to the previous years?

    1. Muga Rajbhandari

      Hello Manny. Some companies do not want to be involved in the immigration process. An H-1B requires a sponsorship, however a TN only requires a job offer. We have helped many clients with their TN application.
      Regards, Muga

  2. Ella

    Hi Michael,

    My poor sister has been offered two jobs and then had the offers retracted. She is in Houston. She already has a TN Visa, but the companies don’t seem to understand, and keep saying “they don’t sponsor.” But she has a visa ??

    What would you suggest?

    Thank you


    1. owen

      Hello Ella,

      Thank you for the question. Unfortunately, without a valid job offer in the US, your sister would not be meeting the conditions set out in her original TN visa if she remains in the US at this point in time. We would be pleased to advise her further on this matter, and can certainly assist her in applying for another TN visa in the future. Please refer to our webpage on TN visas and feel free to fill out our free online assessment so that we may help her further



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