The profession of an Occupational Therapist is listed under the USMCA(NAFTA) professions list as a profession that qualifies for TN visa status. If you are a Canadian or Mexican Citizen with an offer of employment from a US employer as an Occupational Therapist, you might qualify to work and live in the US under TN Visa status. We discuss the profession of an Occupational Therapist for TN Visa status under the USMCA and how to qualify here.
What is an Occupational Therapist for TN Visa purposes?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), Occupational Therapists are defined as follows for immigration purposes:
Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapists typically do the following:
- Review patients’ medical history, ask the patients questions, and observe them doing tasks
- Evaluate a patient’s condition and needs
- Develop a treatment plan for patients, identifying specific goals and the types of activities that will be used to help the patient work toward those goals
- Help people with various disabilities perform different tasks, such as teaching a stroke victim how to get dressed
- Demonstrate exercises—for example, stretching the joints for arthritis relief—that can help relieve pain in people with chronic conditions
- Evaluate a patient’s home or workplace and, on the basis of the patient’s health needs, identify potential improvements, such as labeling kitchen cabinets for an older person with poor memory
- Educate a patient’s family and employer about how to accommodate and care for the patient
- Recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instruct patients on how to use that equipment
- Assess and record patients’ activities and progress for patient evaluations, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers
Patients with permanent disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, often need help performing daily tasks. Therapists show patients how to use appropriate adaptive equipment, such as leg braces, wheelchairs, and eating aids. These devices help patients perform a number of daily tasks, allowing them to function more independently.
How do I qualify for TN Visa status as an Occupational Therapist?
You might qualify for TN Visa status as an Occupational Therapist if you meet the following minimum qualifications:
- You are a Canadian or Mexican Citizen (Permanent Residents do NOT qualify);
- You have a job offer from a US employer or are servicing a contract with a US client;
- You will be performing duties consistent with an Occupational Therapist under the OOH;
- You have a Baccalaureate of Licenciatura; OR State/Provincial License; and
- You can demonstrate that you have non-immigrant intent, in other words, the intent to return to your foreign residence at the end of your temporary employment.
Is certification or licensure required to obtain TN Visa status as an Occupational Therapist?
All states require occupational therapists to be licensed. Although a license may be required and you can qualify for TN visa status with a State/Provincial license, licensure is a post-entry requirement for TN visa status and is NOT a requirement to obtain TN visa status as an Occupational Therapist.
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The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 30+ years of TN Visa experience helping people to live and work in the United States. Contact us today for an assessment of your qualifications for TN Visa status as an Occupational Therapist.