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Tourist Visa for Physical Therapists

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). Persons planning to travel to the U.S. for a different purpose, such as students, temporary workers, crewmen, journalists, etc, must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category. Travelers from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa, through the Visa Waiver Program. More helpful information on the Visa Waiver program is found on the State Department Visa Services website.

Qualifying for a Visa

Applicants for visitor visas must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The presumption in the law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:

  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment;
  • They plan to remain for a specific, limited period; and
  • They have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.

Passing through a U.S. Port of Entry

Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. Immigration authorities have the authority to deny admission, and determine the period for which the bearer of a visitor visa is authorized to remain in the United States.

At the port of entry, an Immigration official must authorize the traveler's admission to the U.S. At that time the Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted, is stamped. Those visitors who wish to stay beyond the time indicated on their Form I-94 must contact the USCIS to request Form I-539, Application to Extend Status. The decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay is made solely by the USCIS.

Physical Therapy

In order to take the exam, a physical therapist must apply for a tourist visa to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). The consular officer evaluates each visa application on its own merits according to visa law and procedures.

Here are the steps:

  1. complete and sign the required application forms
  2. bring evidence that the visit is temporary and that you will leave the United States after your legally authorized stay
  3. undergo security clearance procedures

Things you need:

  1. application form DS-156, completed and signed
  2. current, valid passport or travel document
  3. photograph (correct size, type and quality)
  4. application fees and issuance fee
  5. evidence of funds to cover your expenses in the United States
  6. evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad
  7. supplemental visa application form DS-157 for men age 16-45

For more information about fees, appointments for interview, application forms and visa requirements, contact your nearest US embassy.


United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. www.uscis.gov

“Before contacting the USCIS, USCIS may be able to help you if you have a question about immigration procedures, or need clarification, by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833). This toll-free call center has additional information and, during their specified office hours, can connect you to live assistance in English and Spanish. The NCSC will be able to answer most questions - although they cannot provide information about the status of your case over the telephone.”

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