To get TN entry from Canada, do I really need to bring my original (framed!) diploma?

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Question:

I am a Canadian citizen and received a job offer from a company in the United States. The company sent me an offer letter and instructions for me to apply for my TN visa/work permit at the border. One of the items in the checklist is my original university diploma and the corresponding transcripts. The transcripts are easy to get. My diploma, however, is in a frame on the wall. Do I really need to have the original diploma with me when I apply?

Answer:

While original documents are not absolutely necessary, it's better to have your original diploma and transcripts with you when you apply for your TN work authorization.

(Note that, as a Canadian, you do not need a "visa" to enter the U.S. Rather, the Customs and Border Protection officer either will issue you an I-94 Departure Record, or the officer will stamp and annotate your passport for TN "status," which authorizes you to work for a specific employer in a specific job. Mexican nationals need TN visas and would be wise to take their original documents to the visa interview at the U.S. consulate in Mexico.)

The U.S. immigration regulations clearly state that while copies of documents are acceptable, the adjudicating officer may require originals. Therefore, if the officer at the border (or at preflight inspection or the U.S. consulate in Canada) asks to see your original diploma(s) and transcripts, it's better simply to have them with you. This will avoid a second trip to return with the originals. So take that diploma off the wall -- but keep it in its frame, if you want -- and head for the border.

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