Canadian volunteering for a year in the US for a religious nonprofit
May 26, 2015 11:08 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I will be volunteering at a mountain retreat center/camp in the US for a year. This retreat center is a religious nonprofit affiliated with a mainline protestant denomination and has existed since the '60s (and I have visited it many times before, as a member of that denomination). We will be paid a stipend of $550 a month each and have benefits like room & board, health and dental insurance...or at least I, as a US citizen, will get them. What does my girlfriend, as a Canadian citizen, need to provide to US immigration (specifically DHS at the border) to have the greatest chance of receiving that stipend and/or benefits?

The retreat center is staffed almost entirely by volunteers.

My girlfriend, as a Canadian citizen, has been told by the US consulate that since this is a non-permanent immigration, she needs to apply for it at the border, where the DHS is empowered to make these decisions. This makes sense to me, since I studied in Canada and received my study permit at the border from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. However, this has made it difficult to figure out the information we need. For example, does she want to get a B-1 visa, TN, some sort of permit, etc.?

She will be working in maintenance and renovation, while I will be working in a more sysadmin focus.

If, in the end, there is no chance of that stipend and/or benefits being allowed by immigration/DHS, we will still go, but it would certainly make this a better choice in the long-term.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (2 answers total)
Definitely not a TN visa - those are for qualified professionals (usually with a BA/BSc) doing a related job.

There's lists of qualifying jobs and the required degrees various places on the US and Canadian government sites.
posted by hydrobatidae at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2015

The stipend is coming from the retreat center, correct?

I'd assume that the retreat center has probably dealt with this situation many a time, and that your best bet is to talk to them directly about how their stipend structure works. Getting a visa / permit is something that the retreat center may or may not require to disburse their stipend.
posted by suedehead at 12:34 PM on May 27, 2015

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