TN Scientific Technician

One of the most often misclassified professions for TN visa purposes is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. According to the US Department of Labor, an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer falls under the profession of an Aircraft Mechanic and Service technician. The question is, Does an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician) qualify for TN status?  We discuss the profession of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician) for TN visa purposes and how it is classified here.

How does the US Department of Labor classify an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician)?

According to the US Department of Labor, an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician) includes the following reported job titles:

  • Aircraft Maintenance Technician (Aircraft Maintenance Tech),
  • Aircraft Mechanic,
  • Aircraft Restorer,
  • Aircraft Technician,
  • Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A and P Mechanic),
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT),
  • Aviation Mechanic, and
  • Helicopter Mechanic.

Under the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Classification System Manuel the profession of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician) falls under “Precision Production, Craft, And Repair Occupations – Mechanics and Repairers.” This profession is NOT classified under the Scientific Technician/Technologist category under the USCMA professions list.

According to the US Department of Labor, what does an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician) do?

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft.

Aircraft mechanics typically do the following:

  • Diagnose mechanical or electrical problems
  • Repair wings, brakes, electrical systems, and other aircraft components
  • Replace defective parts, using hand tools or power tools
  • Examine replacement aircraft parts for defects
  • Read maintenance manuals to identify repair procedures
  • Test aircraft parts with gauges and other diagnostic equipment
  • Inspect completed work to ensure that it meets performance standards
  • Keep records of maintenance and repair work

Avionics technicians typically do the following:

  • Test electronic instruments, using circuit testers, oscilloscopes, and voltmeters
  • Interpret flight test data to diagnose malfunctions and performance problems
  • Assemble components, such as electrical controls and junction boxes, and install software
  • Install instrument panels, using hand tools, power tools, and soldering irons
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components
  • Keep records of maintenance and repair work

Airplanes require reliable parts and maintenance in order to fly safely. To keep an airplane in operating condition, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs, and complete inspections. They must follow detailed regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that dictate maintenance schedules for different operations.

Many mechanics are generalists and work on many different types of aircraft, such as jets, piston-driven airplanes, and helicopters. Others specialize in one section, such as the engine, hydraulic system, or electrical system, of a particular type of aircraft. In independent repair shops, mechanics usually inspect and repair many types of aircraft.

Does an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician) qualify for TN status?

A November 2, 2002 memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Services (Now US Department of Homeland Security) clarifies who qualifies for TN status as a Scientific Technician/Technologist. In their explanation of who qualifies they specifically state:

Not admissible as ST/Ts (Scientific Technician/Technologists) are persons intending to do work that is normally done by the contruction trades (welders, boiler makers, carpernters, electricians, etc.) even where these trades are specialized to a particular industry (e.g. aircraft, power distribution, etc.) Read the entire INS Memo on Scientific Technician/Tehcnologists.

Accordingly, an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Technician) and reported job titles, DO NOT qualify for TN visa status under the profession of a Scientific Technician/Technologist.

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