TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Summary: Cdn looking to relocate to US (long) From:Erin Kampf <ekampf -at- YAHOO -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 2 Feb 1999 20:55:19 -0800
> Fellow Techwhirlers:
> I've been meaning to get this summary out for a while, but better late
> than never, I suppose.
> I'd like to thank Kelly Reeve, Jennifer Jackson, Kathy Riikonen, Diane
> Gutierrez, John Cornellier, Fena Maucieri and Mark Smith for their
> responses. I hope I didn't miss anyone.
> TN-1 Visa
> Tech writers are eligible for a TN-1 visa under the NAFTA agreement.
> This visa is a one year work visa which is renewable indefinitely.
> In theory, this visa is simple to obtain. You must have at least a
> four-year university degree, or you can also have a diploma of some
> sort plus three years related work experience. All that is required is
> a letter from your new employer stating your job description (keep it
> short and simple), its duration (no longer than a year), and, I
> believe, salary.
> You present this letter, as well as proof of your qualifications, plus
> $50US in cash to the INS at a border crossing. Generally, the INS does
> not grant the TN-1 more than two weeks in advance. In fact, you can
> often present the required paperwork and get on the next plane to your
> destination. Apparently some border crossings are easier to get
> through than others. Major crossings seem to be recommended. You may
> be hassled by the INS officer (depending on what side of the bed
> he/she got up on that day), but it seems that everyone does get their
> visa in the end.
> Note that you should be able to take a permanent job (lasting longer
> than the one year), but your employer must be willing to "fib" on the
> letter and issue you a new letter every year that your employment
> continues. You have to present the same info to the INS annually (at a
> border crossing) to get the visa renewed.
> You can also probably take jobs that are somewhat outside the
> technical writing realm, again, if your employer is willing to stretch
> the truth a bit on your letter. It seems that it is easiest if you
> follow the exact title that the INS uses on their own paperwork (I'm
> afraid I don't have it with me right now, but email me if you need
> this info). An example from outside the tech writing world would be
> "accountant". I know a couple of people whose visas say they are
> accountants (and they are by designation), but they are not currently
> working as accountants (although they are working in the financial
> Income Tax
> Most of the suggestions for income tax were to do your research before
> you move and to hire an accountant who is familiar with the tax laws
> of both countries.
> Apparently it's not earning income in two countries that is the
> problem. It's having assets in Canada while you are earning income in
> the US.
> You will likely need to file returns in both countries, at least until
> all your income is coming only from the US, but you should only have
> to pay taxes in one country. Don't quote me on this one... my
> understanding of taxes is sketchy at best.
> Also, it seems you can apply to extend your filing date (at least
> going from the US to Canada, not sure about the other way around).
> This is highly recommended since it gives you more time to sort out
> what can be a rather complicated tax situation.
> One last suggestion on taxes, embassies and consulates may have tax
> experts available to help you at no charge.
> Finding work
> The people who responded used a combination of local (US) recruiters
> and applying for jobs online. They had phone interviews or were asked
> to come down for an interview on site.
> Employers seem to be open to hiring Canadians since it's a fairly
> simple process for them (no sponsorship). But, as with any job search,
> you need to prove to them that hiring you is worth their while.
> Relocation assistance is not standard. Just as within Canada, it
> depends on the country.
> Finally, don't forget that although salaries are a lot higher when you
> convert them into Cdn dollars (and of course US taxes are lower), cost
> of living can be substantially higher in the US. It depends on where
> you're coming from and where you're going to. Moving from Saskatoon to
> Silicon Valley would, I'm sure, be a drastic difference.
> I think that about summarizes everything, except one good online
> resource is www.grasmick.com. This is the Web site for an immigration
> lawyer, I believe, but contains lots of good (free) info on it. Start
> your research here.
> If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I can't guarantee
> I'll have the answer (I think pretty much everything I know is in this
> email), but I'll tell you what I can. Also, if I've missed or
> misinterpreted anything, please let me know.
> Best regards,
> Erin Kampf
DO YOU YAHOO!?
Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com