Work Visas for Nurses and Other Professionals When DOL says ‘Not a Specialty Occupation’ – H-1B Visa Alternatives for Canadian & Mexican Nationals

Nurses often have a unique issue in qualifying for H-1B speciality work visa status since the Department of Labor  (“DOL”) determined Nurses only require a 2 year diploma. In contrast, an H-1B work visa is only available to professions that require a 4 year degree minimum such as an accountant.  The TN work visa, available under NAFTA, is an alternative available for Canadian and Mexican Nationals.

The TN work visa is very different from an H-1B and the intent requirement alone can be missed by applicant resulting in a denied visa. Therefore, if you are considering this option please first consult with an experienced U.S. Immigration Lawyer in Consulate visa processing.

Below are a few tips for Canadian or Mexican nurse professionals to keep in mind for discussion with your lawyer when considering TN visa processing:


  • Where to Apply. Visas may be processed at the U.S. Consulate or at designated U.S. Borders by Customs Border & Patrol.
  • Credentials. Relevant Diploma/Degree that shows education match to position is required.
  • Employer Letter. Request a letter from Employer for TN Applicants should include the following:


 Name of employer


 List of the nature of the job description itemizing duties

  Length of stay in the United States

 Compensation paid

 Evidence of education

 Use Company letterhead with original signatures only

Certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) ( i.e.    VisaScreen)


We invite you to inquire about: Our attorneys in Washington DC,  Fairfax Virginia and Rockville Maryland who can answer questions about the following: Nurses, Physical therapists, Speech therapists, Occupational therapists and options such as: H-1B visa, O visa, L visa, E visa, investor visa, worker’s permit and other work visas and/or work permits for all professions including medical professionals.

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA “)

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm 

Representing Businesses, Families & Individual U.S. Immigration needs since 1997 |  | Offices in Washington D.C. • Rockville, Maryland • Fairfax,Virginia