Attention Canadian pharmacists! Did you know that you may qualify for a TN visa to work in the United States? A TN visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows qualifying Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily enter the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level. Some of the main perks of the TN visa include:
- It is the quickest visa in terms of processing. Canadian citizens seeking to work in the United States may get the visa processed same-day at a port of entry (including the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, Ambassador Bridge, and the Blue Water Bridge);
- Compared to other visas, it is relatively inexpensive to apply for. The fees for applying at a port of entry are relatively inexpensive. Similarly, attorney fees for preparing the application tend to be less expensive than for other forms of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications.
- It can be renewed indefinitely (although renewal is never guaranteed). The TN visa is valid for up to three years, and it can be renewed indefinitely - although this is never guaranteed. Amongst professionals who live in Windsor but work in Detroit, it is common for them to hold TN status for their entire working careers.
- Your spouse and dependent children can live in the United States with you. Your spouse and unmarried, minor children may live with you in the United States, although they will not be issued open work permits.
More information on the TN Visa in general is available in our Canada & U.S. TN Visa Guide.
Pharmacists - Immigration Definition
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This Handbook is considered the primary source for career guidance on hundreds of occupations, and is used by the U.S. government in considering employment immigration applications. Per the Handbook, a Pharmacist’s primary duties are to:
- Fill prescriptions to the proper amount based on physicians’ instructions;
- Check patients’ allergies, medical conditions, and other drugs they are taking to ensure that the newly prescribed medication does not cause adverse reaction;
- Instruct patients on proper use, side effects, and storage of prescribed medicine;
- Administer vaccinations, such as flu shots;
- Advise patients about general health topics, such as exercise and managing stress, and on other issues, such as what equipment or supplies would be best to treat a health problem;
- Work with insurance companies to resolve billing issues;
- Supervise the work of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in training (interns);
- Maintain patient and pharmacy records;
- Educate other healthcare workers about proper medication therapies for patients.
The full definition of “What Pharmacists Do” from the perspective of immigration officials can be located here.
In assessing an application for a TN visa under the “Pharmacist” profession, the officer will be closely examining the applicant’s proposed job duties to determine if they align with the duties listed in the Handbook.
TN Visa Eligibility for Pharmacists
The Pharmacist profession is listed under the USMCA professions list as a qualifying profession, meaning Canadian and Mexican citizens with an offer of employment from a U.S. employer as a Pharmacist might qualify for a TN visa.
To qualify, the applicant must:
- Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico - permanent residents of either country are not eligible;
- Be seeking temporary entry, not permanent entry. This means that the applicant must satisfy the examining officer that they will leave the United States when their employment concludes;
- Have a valid job offer from a U.S. employer or be servicing a contract with a U.S. client;
- Perform duties consistent with the Pharmacist profession, as defined by the Occupational Outlook Handbook; and
- Hold a Baccalaureate of Licenciatura, or a State or Provincial License.
Interestingly, holding a license or certification is not required to obtain a TN visa under the Pharmacist profession. However, all states license Pharmacists and licensure is therefore a post-entry requirement in order to be employed as a Pharmacist in the United States. Further information on Pharmacist licensure requirements in the state of Michigan is available on the Michigan Board of Pharmacy website and in the Michigan Pharmacist Licensing Guide.