Does a Nurse Anesthetist Qualify for TN Visa Status?

Question: I am a registered nurse who is a Canadian citizen. I am fully licensed as a certified registered nurse anesthetist in the state of Michigan. I've read the information you provided on your website regarding H1B, and TN status for registered nurses. I know that I meet the requirements to work as a nurse anesthetist under an H1B visa, however, I'm wondering if I can work as a nurse anesthetist under TN status?

Reply: Generally, RN positions do not qualify for H-1B status because they do not require  possession of a bachelor’s degree. You are correct that certain specialized nursing occupations, such as a nurse anesthetist, may satisfy the H-1B “specialty occupation” requirements as these positions require a bachelor’s or higher degree. See Guide for Hiring Foreign Nurses. The TN requirements for an RN have a lower threshold than the H-1B as they do not require employment in a “specialty occupation.”

In order for a position to qualify for TN visa status, the position must only involve “business activity at a professional level in one of the professions set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA.” 8 C.F.R. 214.6 (c). The TN regulations define “business activities at a professional level” as “those undertakings which require that, for successful completion, the individual has a least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional in a profession set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA.”

The regulations do not elaborate on the type of “undertakings” or business activities acceptable under the Registered Nurse or any other TN category. As long as the position requires an individual to possess one of the credentials listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 for a Registered Nurse in order to successfully perform its duties, then the position should qualify for a TN.

We can look to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) for guidance on the types of undertakings or business activities that require the credentials of a Registered Nurse. The OOH specifically lists Nurse Anesthetists as one of the four types of advanced practice RNs. This inclusion of Nurse Anesthetists as a type of RN should support an application for this position under the TN category for Registered Nurses.