TN Visa: Physical Therapist

Background of TN Visa Category

The TN visa occupational category for Physical Therapists was not listed in the initial version of the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1989 (the predecessor to NAFTA). See 54 Federal Register 12 (Jan. 3, 1989). The Physical Therapist occupation was later added to the FTA in 1991. 56 FR 480 (Jan. 7, 1991). It was then carried over and included in the NAFTA list of available occupations in 1994. See 58 FR 69205 (Dec. 30, 1993).

TN Visa Applicant Requirements

Initially, under the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (the predecessor to NAFTA) it was proposed that an individual could qualify as a Physical Therapist based solely on possession of a bachelor’s degree. 55 FR 6694 (Feb. 26, 1990). In the final rule adding the occupation to the FTA, a state/provincial license was included as an alternative to the bachelor’s degree requirement. 56 FR 480 (Jan. 7, 1991).

Except for the addition of a Licenciatura Degree, the credentials acceptable for eligibility under the Physical Therapist category remained unchanged following the implementation of NAFTA. To qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for Physical Therapists, an individual must possess one of the following:
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Licenciatura Degree.
  • State/Provincial License.
The regulations governing TN visa status generally do not provide any guidance on the type of degrees or majors suitable for a particular TN occupational category. To determine the types of degrees suitable for Physical Therapists for purposes of a TN visa, we may refer to U.S. Department of Labor publications such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). See Royal Siam Corp. v. Chertoff, 484 F.3d 139, 145 (1st Cir. 2007). Read more about the TN visa degree requirements.

Health Care Worker Certificate (Visa Screen) Requirement

Individuals applying for TN visa status under the Physical Therapists category have to obtain a Health Care Worker (Visa Screen) certificate before they are able to obtain TN visa status. See Health Care Worker Certifications.

TN Visa Job Duties Requirements

The TN visa regulations do not specifically define the types of Physical Therapist positions or job duties that are permissible under this TN category. Like the degree requirement, individuals should refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for guidance on the generally accepted job duties for this occupation.

Read more about TN visa job duties.



Revised Sept. 18, 2014.