Physical Therapists are eligible for H-1B status because the position requires at least a Bachelor’s degree. H-1B status provides temporary employment authorization in the United States for individuals from any country for any specialty occupation. A Specialty occupation is one which normally requires at least a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.
A Physical Therapist who is a Canadian Citizen is eligible for TN status. [Note: Residency status in Canada is not sufficient for TN eligibility.] TN status is available to Canadian citizens with an offer of employment in the United States in one of forty-three (43) listed occupations.
GREEN CARD OPTIONS:
Because Physical Therapists have been designated by the U.S. Department of Labor as a ‘Schedule A occupation’, they are exempt from the labor certification process (“PERM”) required for most employment based immigrant visas. Therefore, the green card process for a Physical Therapist will be either the Schedule A I-140 Petition (Consular Processing) if they are outside of the United States or the Schedule A I-140 Petition (Adjustment of Status) if they are already physically present in the United States.
Because the first professional degree required for licensure as a Physical Therapist in the United States is evolving, some Physical Therapy positions are eligible for EB-2 classification while others are only eligible for EB-3 classification. The EB-2 category is the immigrant visa classification for positions requiring at least an advanced degree (Master’s degree or higher) or a Bachelor’s degree and five years of progressively responsible experience. The EB-2 category is the immigrant visa classification for positions requiring at least an advanced degree (Master’s degree or higher) or a Bachelor’s degree and five years of progressively responsible experience. The classification is relevant to when an immigrant visa is available. Generally speaking there is no backlog for EB-2 visas for most countries (excluding India and China) and thus an immigrant visa can be obtained “immediately” as soon as the normal case processing is completed. In contrast, obtaining an immigrant visa for an individual filing in the EB-3 classification is currently a lengthy process which takes between four to seven years.
Please visit the MU Immigration Law Blog’s special section on Physical Therapists.