TN Visa for Nurse Practitioner?

Question: I'm currently working with a TN Visa as a Registered Nurse. I will soon complete a master's degree for Nurse Practitioner. My understanding is that a NP requires a sponsor for H1B visa. However, the paperwork is extensive and the cost is high compared to the TN Visa. Can I work under a TN Visa as a Nurse Practitioner?

Reply: Even if they were available now, I do not believe that an H-1B visa is necessary in this scenario. The TN visa classification does provide work authorization under the Registered Nurse occupational category. The regulations do not provide much guidance on the types of duties permitted under the TN visa occupational categories. Under immigration law, to determine the parameters of a TN visa occupation, reference may be made to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).

A review of the OOH entry for Registered Nurses reveals that a variety of positions within this occupation including Cardiovascular Nurses, Critical Care Nurses, and Neonatology Nurses. The OOH also has information on “[a]dvanced practice registered nurses,” which include “Clinical Nurse Specialists,” “Nurse Anesthetists,” “Nurse-Midwives,” and “Nurse Practitioners.’ Based on the OOH’s inclusion of Nurse Practitioners within its definition of the Registered Nurse occupation, I believe that a Nurse Practitioner position may be classified under the TN visa category for Registered Nurses.

As with all visa applications, the burden is always on the applicant to establish his/her eligibility for TN visa status. See INA § 291. In instances where a position’s job title is not an exact match to the TN visa occupational category, as this type of application would be, the applicant must provide supporting documentation like the OOH to confirm that the position may be classified under the Registered Nurse TN visa category.