DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Adding Actuaries and Plant Pathologists to Appendix 1603.D.1 of the North American
Free Trade Agreement
AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: This final rule adopts without substantive change a
proposed rule that was published in the Federal Register by the former Immigration
and Naturalization Service (Service). This final rule amends the Department of
Homeland Security's (Department's) regulations by adding Actuaries and Plant Pathologists
to Appendix 1603.D.1 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and by
modifying the licensure requirements for Canadian citizens seeking admission to
the United States as "trade NAFTA" (TN) nonimmigrant aliens. These amendments
reflect the agreements made among the three parties to the NAFTA and will facilitate
travel to and business in the United States.
On March 1, 2003, the Service transferred from the Department of Justice to
the Department, pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-296).
Accordingly, the Service's adjudication function transferred to the U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department.
DATES: This final rule is effective November 12, 2004.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Howie, Staff Officer,
Business and Trade Services Branch, Program and Regulations Development, U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 425 I Street,
NW., ULLICO Building, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20536, telephone (202) 514-3228.
What Is NAFTA?
On December 17, 1992, the United States, Canada and Mexico signed NAFTA. NAFTA
entered into force on January 1, 1994, creating one of the largest trading areas
in the world. Besides trade, NAFTA allows for the temporary entry of qualified
business persons from each of the parties to the agreement. NAFTA is comprised
of 22 chapters. Chapter 16 of NAFTA is entitled "Temporary Entry of Business
Persons," and in addition to reflecting the preferential trading relationship
between the parties to the agreement, it reflects the member nations' desire to
facilitate temporary entry on a reciprocal basis. It also establishes procedures
for temporary entry, addresses the need to ensure border security and seeks to
protect the domestic labor force in the member nations.
Who Is a TN Nonimmigrant Alien?
A TN nonimmigrant alien is a citizen of Canada or Mexico who seeks admission to
the United States, under the provisions of Section D of Annex 1603 of NAFTA, to
engage in business activities at a professional level as provided for in the Annex.
NAFTA parties have agreed that 63 occupations qualify as professions. These occupations
are listed in the Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 to the NAFTA found in 8 CFR
214.6(c). Canadian and Mexican citizens seeking to engage in occupations not included
in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 are not eligible for classification as TN nonimmigrants.
What Changes Were Proposed in the Proposed Rule?
In the proposed rule published on December 19, 2000 at 65 FR 79320, the former
Service proposed to add the occupation of actuary to the list of professions
in Appendix 1603.D.1. In addition, the rule proposed to include plant pathologist
to the Appendix 1603.D.1 as a footnote to the occupation of biologist. The former
Service also proposed to change the licensure requirements for Canadian TN aliens
applying for admission to the United States described at 8 CFR 214.6(e)(3)(ii)(F).
The rule further proposed to remove 8 CFR 214.6(l), which relates to the transition
period for Canadian citizens who were admitted to the United States under the
United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement that existed before the effective
date of NAFTA. The former
Service also proposed to change all references to the Northern Service Center
to the Nebraska Service Center to reflect the center's current name. Finally,
the former Service proposed to remove the term "diplomas, or certificates"
from 8 CFR 214.6(d)(2)(ii) and at 8 CFR 214.6(e)(3)(ii) since these regulatory
cites are inconsistent with the footnotes to the Appendix.
Did the Former Service Receive Any Comments in Response to the Proposed
Yes, the former Service received 12 comments on the proposed rule. Seven of
the comments dealt with the proposal that would add actuaries and plant pathologists
to NAFTA and five comments related to the proposal to modify the licensure requirements
for Canadian TN nonimmigrants. One of the comments addressing the proposed licensure
requirements for Canadian TN nonimmigrants was actually a number of questions
relating to the process that the former Service (now Department) uses to determine
whether an alien has an appropriate license to practice in his or her occupation
or profession. Since the questions posed in this comment letter do not directly
relate to the proposed rule, this comment will not be discussed.
None of the comments addressed the technical changes that the former Service noted
in the proposed rule. These technical changes include the removal from the regulations
of the discussion of the transition period for Canadian citizens who were admitted
to the United States under the former United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement,
changing references to the "Northern Service Center" to "Nebraska
Service Center," and removal of the term "diplomas, or certificates"
from 8 CFR 214.6(d)(2)(ii) and 8 CFR 214.6(e)(3)(ii) since these regulatory cites
are inconsistent with the footnotes to the appendix.
The Department published an interim final rule on March 10, 2004 (69 FR 11287)
which implemented changes to the TN application process resulting from the sunset
of some NAFTA requirements imposed on Mexican TN's. The changes in that interim
final rule resolved the technical issues referenced above, and this rule finalizes
the technical changes noted in the proposed rule.
Why Did the Former Service Propose To Change the Licensure Requirements
for Canadian TN Nonimmigrants?
To ensure that the former Service's regulations implementing Chapter 16 are
in conformity with the obligations of the United States under the Agreement,
the former Service proposed to remove 8 CFR 214.6(e)(3)(ii)(F). This provision
requires the presentation of a license by a Canadian citizen as an entry requirement
under the NAFTA.
For detailed Notice published in the Federal Register, please click