Foreign national physical therapists have multiple visa options to choose from in order to come and work in the U.S., either temporarily or as a permanent resident. These include seeking an ‘H-1B for Physical Therapists’ to come and work in the US temporarily, or seeking a ‘Schedule A’ Green Card for Physical Therapists to live and work permanently in the U.S.
In addition to these two popular options, TN for Physical Therapists is available exclusively to Canadian and Mexican nationals. In this article, we present an overview of securing Physical Therapist TN Visa successfully.
1. TN Visa Nonimmigrant Classification
The TN Visa permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the U.S. to engage in business activities at a professional level. Pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TN visa classification is restricted only to Citizens (not permanent residents) of Canada and Mexico. In order for a Canadian or Mexican Citizen to qualify for the TN visa, their occupation must be on the NAFTA list. Physical Therapist is one of the listed occupations.
Note: In addition to the TN Visa, Canadian and Mexican physical therapists, as well as physical therapists of other nationalities, who would like to live and work temporarily in the U.S. have the option of seeking an ‘H-1B for Physical Therapists’. Additionally, foreign national physical therapists who would like to live and work permanently in the U.S. have the option of seeking a ‘Schedule A’ Green Card for Physical Therapist.
2. Physical Therapist TN Visa – Eligibility Conditions
In order to qualify for a Physical Therapist TN visa classification, a Canadian or Mexican national physical therapist must possess the requisite qualification(s) as required by the NAFTA treaty, which, for physical therapists is a Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree OR state/provincial license.
The candidate must also have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer in a position that requires someone in that professional capacity.
Health Care Worker Certification
Canadian and Mexican national physical therapists who would like to work in the U.S. in TN status must also obtain a Health Care Worker Certification issued by the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) – VisaScreen, or the Federal Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) – Type 1 Certificate. The certification is required even if the foreign national is US educated.
3. The TN Visa Requirement
A separate application or petition does not have to be filed by the employer with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to gain entry into the U.S.
If applying from abroad, Canadian nationals are not customarily required to obtain a TN visa and can apply directly for admission at a U.S. Port of Entry with the requisite documentation. Mexican nationals require a visa to seek admission into the U.S. and hence will be required to obtain a TN visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
If the foreign national physical therapist is in the U.S. and is seeking a change of status from their current status, the employer must file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129 with supporting evidence.
1.The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the U.S. to engage in business activities at a professional level.
2.The applicant must have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer in a position that requires someone in that professional capacity.
3.To qualify for a Physical Therapist TN, the Canadian or Mexican Citizen must possess a Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or state/provincial license.
4.The Physical Therapist must obtain Health Care Worker Certification (VisaScreen or Type 1 Certificate).
4. Period of Admission And Dependents
Canadian and Mexican nationals who enter the U.S. under the Physical Therapist TN classification may be admitted for a period of up to three years initially. Furthermore, their spouse and children under the age of 21 are eligible for TD visa nonimmigrant status. Dependents do not have to be citizens of Canada or Mexico. TD holders cannot work while in the U.S. but are permitted to study.
The TN visa classification allows Canadian and Mexican Citizen physical therapists to work immediately in the U.S. The TN classification is restricted to Citizens of Canada and Mexico (those who obtained Canadian or Mexican citizenship through naturalization are also eligible).
In addition to the Physical Therapist TN Visa, Canadian and Mexican physical therapists who would like to live and work temporarily in the U.S. have the option of seeking an ‘H-1B for Physical Therapists’. Unlike the H-1B, which has a numerical cap of 65,000 per year, there is no annual cap for the TN visa classification. However, the TN classification does not support ‘dual intent’. Foreign national physical therapists who would like to live and work permanently in the U.S. have the option of seeking a ‘Schedule A’ Green Card for Physical Therapists.
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