Citizens of Canada and Mexico can work in the United States under The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This treaty allows petitioners to seek admission for TN Visa under certain occupation categories. One of the suitable occupations is a Registered Nurse.

The complete list of NAFTA professions you can find here.

Registered Nurses work on providing and managing patient care. Guidance for determining general job duties is in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Typical duties are:

  • Get familiar with the patients` conditions,
  • Document medical history and observations,
  • Distribute prescribed medicines and medical treatments,
  • Participate in care planning,
  • Communicate and cooperate with other healthcare individuals,
  • Participate in diagnostic tests and analysis,
  • Provide information for patients and families on how to behave during illness or injuries.

To qualify for admission to obtain a TN visa as a Registered Nurse, the petitioner should fulfill some educational requirements. Petitioner has to obtain and to be able to provide evidence of one of the following:

  • State or Provincial License; or
  • Licenciatura Degree.

State or a provincial license presents any document issued by a state, provincial, or federal government, as the case may be, or under its authority, but not by a local government, that permits a person to be engaged in a regulated activity or profession.

Additionally, petitioners have to obtain a Health Care Worker (Visa Screen) certificate, approved by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for credential validations. Verification refers to education, all licenses, registrations, diplomas, experience, and English proficiency.

Optionally, nurses can provide a certified statement from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or verification that the applicant has passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). If the petitioner provides an alternative certified statement CGFNS, he or she is exempt from the English language requirement.

Additional requirements that TN nonimmigrants have to submit are:

  • Proof of Mexican or Canadian citizenship (valid passport);
  • A proof of the offer of employment written as a letter of support, with all job details, such as title, description, and salary;
  • A proof that a nonimmigrant does not intend to stay in the U.S. after the TN visa expires.

How to seek admission as a TN nonimmigrant?

Canadian citizens should apply with all required documentation to the officer of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the U.S. Port of Entry. They are not required to obtain a visa first. It is also possible to apply at a pre-flight inspection or an airport after arriving in the United States. The decision is immediate.

On the other hand, Mexican citizens should apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico. After the TN visa is approved, they can seek admission at the U.S. Port of Entry. Both Canadian and Mexican citizens can file the online I-129 petition with USCIS.

What else is to know when applying for a TN Visa for a Registered Nurse?

If the petitioner has a spouse or minor children, they can also apply for TN visa status and join the petitioner in the United States. Required documentation is:

  • A valid passport
  • A proof of their relationship to the nurse (marriage certificate or birth certificate)

In theory, nurse practitioners fall under the Registered Nurse category. However, it is a common issue that border inspectors deny their application for TN visa status. Therefore, we recommend preparing additional documentation and strong arguments on how the TN visa eligibility requirements are met in a specific case.

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