My TN Visa was Refused. What do I do?

TN Visa refusal Q&A

Question: I applied for a TN Visa at the Niagara Falls Border. I applied as a computer systems analyst. I thought that my education and experience was enough for me to qualify for the TN. However, the officer said that my US job offer was not “proper”. He told me that the duration of the employment and the duties of the job were not according to NAFTA. What do I do?

Peter L.

What are my options when my TN Visa is denied?

Peter, the situation you presented is unfortunately all too common. I cannot comment on your particular case as I have not seen your documentation. However, in our immigration practice, we encounter many TN Visa applicants who get refused for “technical reasons”.

In many cases, applicants are well qualified for TN Visas and have valid US Job offers. However,  such applicants are often shocked to hear that their TN Visa applications are denied at the border. This happens for the a multitude of reasons including an improperly drafted US job offer or insufficient documentation concerning the applicant’s education or work experience.

The key to successful TN Visa cases is to ensure that the applicant have a well-presented “application package” that conforms with all the NAFTA Visa requirements.   Just because you “qualify” for a TN Visa, this does not mean that you will get one. To be issued the TN Visa, it is essential that your job offer, education and work experience contain all the relevant information needed to show the immigration officer that you do indeed qualify.

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

  • Jay

    I’m an MBA with 14+ years of US experience in IT Systems and Security Analysis. I’ve worked there on H1B initially and then TN. However recently while applying for a new TN for a financial company, they refused my TN saying that I didn’t have a degree in Computer Science. The fact is that I’ve been working with USCIS approved TN so how could an agent refuse the same at the border? What are my options now? Appreciate your reply.

    • Vahe Mirzoyan

      Thank you for your inquiry Jay. I am really glad that you contacted us.

      Applications for TN status should be adjudicated uniformly, but in reality they are not always done that way.

      I know that it must be extremely frustrating having to put your plans on hold because of this issue

      Please complete this form for me it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about you and your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to get you back on board with a TN visa.


      • RV

        Mr. Jay, can you post what has been the outcome of your situation?

  • Alex

    I am a Canadian citizen and an electrical engineer. My TN visa was denied. I wonder if I could enter the U.S. with a visitor visa to see my family.

    Thanks Alex.

    • Dear Alex,

      Canadian citizens traveling to the U.S. for visitor visa purposes do not require a nonimmigrant visa.

      Thank you.

  • P. Vo


    I am a registered nurse and applied for a Work Permit in the U.S. My husband has been arrested twice and has a misdemeanor on his record due to his debts owed to a casino. Now, his debts have been cleared as he paid them off.

    Will we have problems crossing the border?

    Thank you for your time.

  • Hello David
    It may be possible for you to qualify for a TN Visa even where you do not meet the educational requirements dependent on the specific employment category. Alternatively, depending on your employment experience, another NAFTA job category without the educational requirement may work for you.

  • David A

    Hi Mr. Niren,
    I have a question in regards to a TN Visa. I am a Canadian citizen and I have a job offer in the US. The position I am offered is a valid position according to NAFTA. My issue is that although I am very qualified and have the work experience, I do not hold a degree in this field. Is it still possible for me to get a TN visa without a degree? If not, are there any other options that I may contemplate?

  • Michael Niren

    Hi Jose
    Your criminal offense would render you inadmissible to Canada. You would therefore require a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to be able to enter Canada.

  • B patel

    I had TN Visa for a company and I changed to another company. But I couldn’t come to the border and have it renewed it for the new company.
    Now after one month I came to the border again and applied for renewal for the but I was denied for a TN Visa. The grounds were of overstaying and unauthorized employment. Actually I did not have that intention.

    What is the best way to get a US waiver?

  • Jose

    Flying from Mexico to Canada: I’m aware I only need a passport to enter to visit (max 6 months). I was sentenced for 5 yrs in prison for a aggravated felony in the U.S. Would that affect my entry to Canada from Mexico?

  • sansai

    I am an MBA worked in USA on an H1B visa as Analyst programmer. I am now a Canadain citizen and working with good Canadian comapany for last 3 years. I still get some mails from clients about my availability for USA jobs. Getting offer letter is not difficult but worried about will I get TN1 or E2 Visa? Since my degree and experience does not match with my TN1 Visa conditions as mentioned. But I passed one paper in Management Information System to complete my MBA.

    I never got a USA visa refusal but rather got two H1b visas. However I am not interested in H1B Visas any more I want full independence to determine who my clients are and the rate I charge. Any suggestions are welcomed.

  • Michael

    You should tell your employer that your written job offer for your refused TN Visa should be reviewed by a lawyer for its content and format. The lawyer may have suggestions about the wording of the job offer. There could be just some minor issues or some major ones. Without seeing the job offer it is hard to tell whether your case can be helped.

  • Howard

    My TN Visa was denied because the officer told me that my US job offer was not on the NAFTA list. I think it is. What should I tell my employer?

  • matoto-landu

    bonjour monsieur michael niren,
    je voulle demande apropo de visa du traivaille si comme ca se passe si vous pourve mes explique.

    Hello Michael Niren .. How can I get a work permit?

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