Scientist Occupations

TN Visa: Biologist


The TN visa occupational category for Biologists was first listed in the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1989. See 54 Federal Register 12 (Jan. 3, 1989). The predecessor to NAFTA, the FTA provided work authorization under TC visa status, which was only available to Canadian citizens. The occupational category for Biologists was carried over and included in the NAFTA list of available occupations in 1994. See 58 FR 69205 (Dec. 30, 1993).

In 1990, the the Canadian Phytopathological Society requested that the occupation of Plant Pathologist be added to the list of professions available for TN visa status. The NAFTA parties agreed to make this addition, and in 2000 the U.S. proposed to include the occupation of Plant Pathologists as part of the Biologist category "because the occupations [were] similar in educational requirements and duties." See 65 FR 79320, 79321-22 (Dec. 19, 2000). The addition was formally adopted in 2004. See 69 FR 60939 (Oct. 13, 2004).


To qualify for TN visa status under the occupational category for Biologists / Plant Pathologists, an individual must possess one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree; or
  • Licenciatura Degree.

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 Biologists / Plant Pathologists 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.


The TN visa regulations do not specifically define the types of Biologists / Plant Pathologists 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.

Read more about TN visa job duties.


  • TN Visa Articles - Biologist / Plant Pathologist (currently not available)