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Physical Therapists from Canada & Mexico

Physical Therapists should go to the website of a formal credential evaluating agency, such as the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) or International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD), a division of CGFNS, to obtain an application for credentials evaluation. The evaluation will analyze your education/licensure and present it in terms of US comparability. The evaluation can be used for licensure, certification, etc. purposes.

If your credentials are favorably assessed, you contact the licensing body in the state you want to work, and they will approve your eligibility to write (like PTs from the USA) the national exam, called the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which is provided through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Some states also require that PTs write a jurisprudence exam through the FSBPT.

Additionally, the VisaScreen requirement that was instituted by the US Department of Homeland Security in July 2004 for some healthcare professions does pertain to physical therapists.

VisaScreen for physical therapists includes an educational review, licensure review, English language skills assessment (*most Canadians are exempt), and supervised clinical experience assessment.

What exactly is required for the VisaScreen?

• The applicant must complete the VisaScreen application. These can be downloaded from the CGFNS website.

• The applicant must include a passport-sized photo (as of January 1, 2006).

• The applicant must complete the forms (that come with the VisaScreen application) and send these to her/his PT school. The PT school must fill in information on the form and send a transcript directly to the CGFNS/ICHP.

• The applicant must complete the forms (that come with the VisaScreen application) and send them to his/her licensing authority/authorities. Validations of all past and present licenses must be sent directly to the CGFNS/ICHP by the licensing authority/authorities.

• If not exempt (most Canadians are), the applicant must successfully complete an English language proficiency test and have the scores directly sent to the CGFNS/ICHP by the testing agency. (Scores are valid for two years.)

• The applicant must provide a self-reported, typewritten summary of his/her clinical experience which includes dates of each supervised clinical experience, type of facility in which each clinical experience took place, overall focus of each clinical experience (e.g. pediatrics), and approximate number of patients cared for during each experience in the following age ranges: 0-18, 19-55, 56+.

• The applicant must attach a copy of her/his high school diploma. A clear photocopy is permissible. • The applicant must enclose the application fee (by international money order/certified bank check in US funds, or Visa, MasterCard, or Discover/Novus card).


Canadians and Mexicans who graduated from a US PT school must also complete the VisaScreen process.

VISA Information: Under NAFTA, PTs who are citizens of Canada or Mexico are eligible for TN visas to work in the US. Under NAFTA, Canadians receive TN-1 visas and Mexicans receive TN-2 visas. Canadians can apply for a TN-1 visa at Class A US Ports of Entry; Mexicans must apply for their TN-2 visa at a US Consulate.

No sponsorship is required for Canadians or Mexicans. However, you will still need to provide proof of an offer of employment from your employer in the US, and meet the minimum education, experience and licensing requirements (as above).

Documents required for TN visa:

  1. A document (e.g., signed contract, employment offer, etc.) showing your job title, summary of your job duties, starting date and expected length of temporary stay, arrangement for remuneration.
  2. VisaScreen certificate.
  3. Recent résumé.
  4. Evidence of the appropriate degree awarded (e.g. copy of a diploma, or official transcripts indicating the degree which has been awarded).
  5. Evidence of Canadian (or Mexican) citizenship.

The duration of the TN visa is set for an initial period of one year. An unlimited number of one-year extensions may be subsequently obtained so long as you can show that the employment remains temporary, and that you continue to be qualified to work in your profession.


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