Memorandum of Understanding from the USCIS

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued an important memorandum last May 20, 2009. This update has also been featured on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) website.


The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently been misinterpreting the educational requirements sited in the 2008-09 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor. This language misinterpretation has had a devastating impact on internationally educated occupational therapists who are either applying for or renewing their visas.

The NBCOT has been informed of a newly released Memorandum of Understanding from the USCIS. The memorandum clarifies the educational requirements of individuals seeking visas to perform services in a specialty occupation (such as occupational therapy). The USCIS will approve all occupational therapists provided that the beneficiary holds at least a Bachelor’s degree. Please see the USCIS memorandum of understanding for further detail.

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