Neither the USMCA (NAFTA) nor USCIS defines how a TN visa holder must be paid. They simply state that there must be employment or contractual, arrangements between a foreign national and a US entity. Only self-employment through a US company is barred. This means a TN visa holder can be paid either on a W2 or 1099. The arrangements for wages are between the TN visa holder and the contracting party in the United States. Many I.T. professionals and Management Consultants opt to be paid via 1099 through their foreign company. In fact, a Management Consultant is typically paid as an independent contractor.
In what type of arrangements can a TN Visa holder be a contractor (1099)?
We most often see TN Visa holders as contractors (1099) under the Management Consultant profession. However, it is also common to be an independent contractor as an I.T. professional. This does not mean that other TN Visa holders cannot be contractors on 1099. As long as the TN visa professional is not engaged in self-employment, remuneration is between the U.S. employer and the TN Visa professional.
Can TN Visa holders work as independent contractors (1099)?
Although a TN Visa holder is not allowed to be self-employed, this does not prevent them from working in the United States on a TN Visa as a contractor. Many self-employed business professionals work as independent contractors, this alone does not signal self-employment. If a business professional is performing work in the United States under an employment agreement, a pre-arranged contract with a U.S. employer/U.S. entity, they can still qualify for a TN visa. In these scenarios, their work in the United States is tied to a contract with a U.S. entity that controls their employment. Either party can terminate the contractual relationship at any time. Such employment arrangements are not considered self-employment for TN visa purposes.
TN Visa Lawyer
We have helped many business professionals obtain TN visa status through contractual relationships with U.S. entities. This includes being paid through a contractual relationship with a foreign company owned by a TN visa professional. We see this scenario often with I.T. professionals and Management Consultants who have foreign companies through which they contract their services to U.S. companies as contractors.