TN/TD + Online freelance consulting (W2 or 1099?)


Registered Users (C)
I am a Canadian citizen. I work full-time in the US under the TN status. My wife is on TD visa.
We were exploring some opportunities of online consulting available on Elance.

My understanding is we can have only one W2 income from one company under one TN status. If we want to simultaneously work for another company, we require an additional TN with the other company. In addition to the W2 income, you can have multiple 1099 incomes – i.e. you can have multiple bank accounts, get returns from stocks, earnings from gambling/lottery etc at the same time.

Could you please confirm whether the above statements are accurate?

Would online freelance consulting be considered a 1099 income given the facts that it has been advertised from outside the US, doesn’t require W-9 and can even be advertised by an individual rather than a corporation?

If yes, I wouldn’t require another TN status for this type of work and my wife can also work on it (as it wouldn’t violate the TD visa rules). Could you please confirm that this statement is accurate?

Thanks a lot for your help & assistance in this regard.


Registered Users (C)
Be careful, while you can be paid 1099-misc on TN, you do need a TN for this income. gambling, interst, etc is not the same as work-related 1099. If you are issued a 1099 for work, then they MUST have sponsored a TN for you.

if the work is for a foreign client, they would not issue 1099, and then if you are not benefitting from being in US (ie your foreign client does not have US projects that you are working on) then this is fine. Otherwise you need a 2nd TN and your spouse would need TN istead of TD.


Registered Users (C)
Thanks Nelsona for your quick reply.
So, to summarize, the key test here is whether you are benefitting from being in the US with respect to getting this offer. So, if the foreign company has non-US projects and you can practically reside in any country in the world to perform the project, then this would be counted as 1099 income. In this scenario, if the compensation is in USD (hourly rate), would it still qualify as 1099 income.
Thanks again!


Registered Users (C)
Patience. This is not my job.
If you are paid by a US resident, then the second criteria doesn't come in to play: you MUST get a TN.

It is only if you are paid by a foreign client or employer (W-2 and 1099 don't matter in such case) only then does location/benefit determine if they need to get you a TN, or even if you are allowed to do this work.

Forget the terms w-2 and 1099. you are either working for an employer (foreign or US) or a client (foreign or US).