TN Visa: Psychologist


Background of TN Visa Category

The TN visa occupational category for Psychologists was first listed in the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1989. See 54 Federal Register 12 (Jan. 3, 1989). The predecessor to NAFTA, the FTA provided work authorization under TC visa status, which was only available to Canadian citizens. The occupational category for Psychologists was 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 Psychologist based solely on possession of a bachelor’s degree. 55 FR 6694 (Feb. 26, 1990).

However, after community input recommending that the requirement for psychologists be increased to the holding of a doctorate, or a state or provincial license, the FTA working group increased the requirement for Psychologists to possession of either a state or provincial license. 56 FR 480 (Jan. 7, 1991).

The rule implementing NAFTA retained the FTA’s requirements for a Psychologist, but added possession of a Licenciatura Degree (the first tier of higher education in Mexico) as an alternative credential for qualification as a Psychologist. 58 FR 69205 (Dec. 30, 1993).

As result, to qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for Psychologists, an individual must possess one of the following:
  • State/Provincial License.
  • Licenciatura Degree.
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 Psychologists 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.

TN Visa Job Duties Requirements

The TN visa regulations do not specifically define the types of Psychologist 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.

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References

Revised Sept. 18, 2014.