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TN Visa: Occupational Therapist

TN Visa: Occupational Therapist


The TN visa occupational category for Occupational 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 Occupational 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).


Initially, under the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (the predecessor to NAFTA) it was proposed that an individual could qualify as a Occupational 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 post-secondary diploma with three years’ experience 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 Occupational Therapist category remained unchanged following the implementation of NAFTA. To qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for Occupational Therapists, an individual must possess one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree.

  • Licenciatura Degree.

  • Post-Secondary Diploma and three years of experience.

  • Post Secondary Certificate and three years of experience.

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 Occupational 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 Occupational 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.


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