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I am a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) and a Canadian citizen. Can I work in the US under the TN Visa?

By November 24, 2021Immigration, TN Visa
A CNA is scrubs smiling at the camera

The short answer is no. The TN visa is unfortunately one that is quite strict about the categories of professionals it is available to, and the minimum requirements that the applicant must have. Currently in the nursing profession the TN visa is only available to registered nurses (RNs) with either a license from the State/Province or a Licenciatura Degree in Nursing.

Requirements for a Registered Nurse (RN) to qualify for a TN Visa

To be eligible for a TN Visa, a registered nurse needs to demonstrate:

  • A US Job offer
  • State or provincial license as a RN or a Licenciatura Degree in Nursing
  • A Certificate issued by the Commission On Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

The TN visa will allow the RN to work for a US employer for up to three years at a time, which can be extended as long as you continue to meet the requirements of the visa.

Alternative Options for Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) to work in the United States

Depending on the circumstances of the prospective employer, an EB3 PERM-based employer-sponsored green card may be an option. Although this is a costlier process and will take longer to apply, some employers may be willing to go through this process to employ a foreign CNA especially in cases where it is difficult to fill labor needs in that particular region.

The sponsoring employer, in many cases a hospital, will then work with an immigration lawyer to start the PERM labor certification process, which involves obtaining a prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor, publishing job advertisements and recruit for at least 30 days, and file the PERM application. This can take many months.

Once the PERM labor certification is approved, the applicant can then apply to USCIS with a Form I-140, petition for immigrant worker. There is an option for premium processing, which costs extra but you can receive a decision in 15 business days since receipt of your application.

Green Cards for Registered Nurses (RNs)

If you obtain a registered nurse (RN) license, an addition advantage opens up for an applicant who is going through an EB3 petition with an employer who is sponsoring them for a job. RNs are included in the “Schedule A” list of professions, which are jobs the U.S. government has recognized are in short supply in the U.S. Applicants working in these professions do not need to go through the time-consuming PERM process and instead can directly petition for an employer-sponsored green card (I-140) once they have a labor certification.

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