TN Visa Status as a Hotel or Restaurant Manager

Qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens can obtain TN visa status to work in the United States as Hotel or Restaurant Managers under the USMCA (NAFTA). Although Hotel or Restaurant manager is listed as one of the qualifying USMCA professions, the qualifications can be confusing. We discuss the profession of Hotel or Restaurant Manager for TN visa purposes and how to qualify here.

What is a Hotel Manager for TN Visa purposes?

Under the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Hotel Managers fall under the profession of Lodging Managers and are defined as follows:

Lodging managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishments with accommodations. Lodging managers also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably. Lodging managers typically do the following:

  • Inspect guest rooms, public areas, and grounds for cleanliness and appearance
  • Ensure that company standards for guest services, décor, and housekeeping are met
  • Answer questions from guests about hotel policies and services
  • Keep track of how much money the hotel or lodging facility is making
  • Interview, hire, train, and sometimes fire staff members
  • Monitor staff performance to ensure that guests are happy and that the hotel is well run
  • Coordinate front-office activities of hotels or motels and resolve problems
  • Set room rates and budgets, approve expenditures and allocate funds to various departments

A comfortable room, good food, and helpful staff can make being away from home an enjoyable experience for guests on vacation or business travel. Lodging managers occasionally greet and register guests. They also try to make sure that guests have a good experience.

What is a Restaurant Manager for TN Visa purposes?

Under the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Restaurant Managers fall under the profession of Food Service Managers and are defined as follows:

Food service managers ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience.

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it runs efficiently. Food service managers typically do the following:

  • Hire, train, discipline, and sometimes fire employees
  • Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
  • Oversee food preparation and other kitchen operations
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas
  • Ensure that employees comply with health and food safety standards
  • Address complaints regarding food quality or service
  • Schedule staff hours and assign duties
  • Manage budgets and payroll records
  • Establish standards for personnel performance and customer service

Managers coordinate activities of the kitchen and dining room staff to ensure that customers are served properly and in a timely manner. They oversee orders in the kitchen, and, if needed, they work with the chef to remedy service delays.

What are the degree requirements for a Hotel or Restuarant Manager under the USMCA (NAFTA)?

While other USMCA professions require a degree in a closely related field, the profession of Hotel or Restaurant Manager does not have the same flexibility. The degree requirement for a Hotel or Restaurant Manager is specific. The Cronin memo states:

 “Hotel Manager” is the only occupation that specifically requires a baccalaurcate or licentiatura degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management OR a Post-Secondary diploma/certificate in Hotel/Restaurant Management plus threeyears experience inHotel/Restaurant Management.

No other degree is acceptable to qualify for TN visa status as a Hotel or Restaurant Manager under the USMCA (NAFTA).

How do I qualify for TN Visa status as a Hotel or Restaurant Manager?

You might qualify for TN Visa status as a Hotel or Restaurant Manager if you meet the following minimum qualifications:

  1. You are a Canadian or Mexican Citizen (Permanent Residents do NOT qualify);
  2. You have a job offer from a US employer or are servicing a contract with a US client;
  3. You will be performing duties consistent with a Hotel or Restaurant Manager under the OOH;
  4. You have a Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree in hotel/restaurant management; OR a Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate in hotel/restaurant management, and three years. experience in hotel/restaurant management; and
  5. You can demonstrate that you have non-immigrant intent, in other words, the intent to return to your foreign residence at the end of your temporary employment.

With proper preparation and guidance, the TN Visa process can be straightforward. Taken lightly, the TN Visa process can be burdensome and can have long-term immigration consequences.

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