Physicians from Mexico and Canada seeking opportunities in the United States under the TN Visa category must navigate specific criteria set by the USMCA (formerly NAFTA). This guide outlines the role of physicians in the context of TN Visa status and the process for qualifying, focusing particularly on those engaged in teaching and research roles.
Defining a Physician’s Role for TN Visa Eligibility
Under the USMCA, eligibility for TN Visa status as a physician is limited to those who focus on teaching and/or research. Direct patient care is permissible only when incidental to these primary duties. The Bednarz Memo, dated March 13, 1995, emphasizes that TN physicians must not primarily engage in clinical or direct patient care. Patient care that is incidental to teaching and research, however, is allowed.
Eligibility Criteria for TN Visa as a Physician
To qualify for TN Visa status, physicians must meet the following requirements:
- Citizenship: Must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico; Permanent Residents are not eligible.
- Employment Offer: A job offer from a U.S. employer or a contract with a U.S. client is required.
- Professional Role: Must align with the duties of a teaching or research physician.
- Educational Qualifications: Possess an M.D. or Doctor en Medicina; or a State/Provincial License.
- Non-Immigrant Intent: Demonstrating the intention to return to your home country post-employment is essential.
Licensure and Certification Requirements
While holding a state/provincial license can qualify you for TN Visa status as a physician, it is important to note that this licensure is a post-entry requirement. It is not mandatory for securing TN Visa status initially. The focus is on ensuring that the primary role is in teaching and research, with any patient care being only a secondary and incidental activity.
For Mexican and Canadian physicians specializing in teaching and research, the TN Visa offers a pathway to engage professionally in the U.S. Understanding and meeting these specific requirements are key to a successful application and subsequent career in the United States under the TN Visa program.
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