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Healthcare Workers

There are many immigration options available for healthcare workers to enter the United States. You will find specific information for Physical Therapists and Registered Nurses on our website. Please click on the link below to learn more about the immigration process for these healthcare occupations. For more detailed information about your specific situation, please contact us.


 

Nurses

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Immigration for Foreign-Born Registered Nurses Wishing to Enter the United States

For Registered Nurses wishing to enter the United States , obtaining a green card through employment is the most common route. There are several things that must be done before you can enter the U.S. to work as a Registered Nurse. You must have a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you, a diploma from a nursing school in your home country, a nursing license in your home country, and at least one of the following:

  • A full and unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment, or
  • A certification issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or 
  • Evidence that you have passed the NCLEX-RN licensing examination

Most states require you to pass the CGFNS exam before you can take the NCLEX-RN, so if you are not already licensed in a state, you should take the CGFNS exam. The following states require foreign nurses to pass the CGFNS examination before taking the NCLEX-RN:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

You also need to begin the Visa Screen process as soon as possible (this is in addition to the CGFNS exam). The process is lengthy and you must obtain your certificate from the International Commission on Healthcare Professionals before your Visa Interview.

Here is a list of the documents we will need from the Registered Nurse to process the case:

  1. Copies of academic degrees and transcripts
  2. Copy of nursing license from home country
  3. CGFNS Certificate
  4. Resume of Nursing Candidate

We will also need the following from the employer:

  1. Information on the health care facility
  2. Information about the job being offered
  3. A job posting notice to be placed at the employer's premises
  4. Paperwork to be signed by a company official
  5. Copies of federal tax returns (or a statement from the company's financial officer for larger employers)

By the time of your Visa Interview, you will also need to have the following:

  1. Visa Screen Certificate
  2. Police Certificates from your Home Country
  3. Police Certificates from every other country where you have lived for a period of 6 months or longer after the age of 16
  4. Birth Certificate
  5. Marriage Certificate
  6. Letter of employment
  7. Medical Clearance
  8. Pictures

The process begins when the U.S. employer files the I-140 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once this petition is approved (approximately 90-120 days after filing), the approved visa petition is then forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth , New Hampshire.

The NVC forwards a packet to the nurse containing forms to be completed by the applicant and family members and a list of documents, which must be presented at the Visa Interview. The applicant should gather the Visa Screen Certificate, Police Clearances, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and any other items requested in the packet and send them to U.S. Consulate or NVC, as instructed.

The applicant attends the scheduled interview with all of the requested documents. If the application is approved, the Consulate issues an Immigrant visa stamp that is valid for 6 months, and gives the applicant a sealed envelope. You must enter the U.S before the Immigrant visa expires in order to complete the final processing.

When you arrive at the U.S. port of entry, you will be referred to secondary inspection. You will present the sealed envelope to the immigration officer and be fingerprinted. You will then be issued an I-551 form and obtain a visa stamp that is valid for one year. At that point, you are a Lawful Permanent Resident; the visa stamp is a temporary green card that can be used for work or travel. You can then obtain a social security number and apply for the state licensing examination. Within 4 to 6 months after entry into the U.S. , you will receive your actual green card.

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Immigration for Foreign-Born Registered Nurses Already in the United States

If you are already in the United States , you may be eligible to obtain your green card through employment. You must have a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you, a diploma from a nursing school in your home country, a nursing license in your home country, and at least one of the following:

  • A full and unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment, or
  • A certification issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or 
  • Evidence that you have passed the NCLEX-RN licensing examination

Most states require you to pass the CGFNS exam before you can take the NCLEX-RN, so if you are not already licensed in a state, you should take the CGFNS exam. The following states require foreign nurses to pass the CGFNS examination before taking the NCLEX-RN:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

You also need to begin the Visa Screen process as soon as possible (this is in addition to the CGFNS exam). The process is lengthy and you must obtain your certificate from the International Commission on Healthcare Professionals before your Adjustment of Status application can be adjudicated.

Registered Nurses are eligible for what is called Schedule A Labor Certification. This basically means that you don't have to file a labor certification at all (note, the labor certification is also known as PERM). Therefore, you can start at what normally would be the second step of the green card process, the I-140 petition.

Here is a list of the documents we will need from the Registered Nurse to process the case:

  1. Copies of academic degrees and transcripts
  2. Copy of nursing license from home country
  3. CGFNS Certificate, NCLEX results, or State license
  4. Resume of Nursing Candidate
  5. Copy of passport
  6. Copy of birth certificate (with English translation if necessary)
  7. Copy of marriage certificate (with English translation if necessary)
  8. Letter from your bank stating the account balances
  9. Medical examination
  10. Passport photos

We will also need the following from the employer:

  1. Information on the health care facility
  2. Information about the job being offered
  3. A job posting notice to be placed at the employer's premises
  4. Paperwork to be signed by a company official
  5. Copies of federal tax returns (or a statement from the company's financial officer for larger employers)

If Employment-based visa numbers are available at the time we file your case, we will include an application for Employment Authorization. This can be obtained in as little as two months depending on where your application is being processed. This will allow you to begin working as a Registered Nurse, assuming that you have obtained your state nursing license by this time.

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Physical Therapist

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Immigration for Foreign-Born Physical Therapists Wishing to Enter the United States

For Physical Therapists wishing to enter the United States , obtaining a green card through employment is the most common route. There are several things that must be done before you can enter the U.S. to work as a Physical Therapist. Most states require that you obtain an evaluation from a specific credentialing agency to determine whether the degree you received is substantially equivalent to an entry-level degree in physical therapy in the U.S. Each state has its own requirements so be sure to check with the state licensing board to determine where you can obtain your evaluation. You will also want to take the English language proficiency exam early in the process because you will need these scores in order to obtain your health care worker certificate.

At the same time, you should begin the process of obtaining your health care worker certificate because this is a lengthy process. You have two options for obtaining your certificate: FCCPT or CGFNS. You should contact these organizations to obtain more information about the requirements for the certificate. The health care worker certificate verifies compliance with an educational credentials review, English language proficiency requirements and verification of ability to practice in the country of education.

After you have started the process for your health care worker certificate and have obtained your evaluation specific to the state you are to be licensed in, you should request an application from the Board of Physical Therapy Examiner for your state. The Board will provide you with instructions about what documents you need to include with your application. Once your application to take the licensing exam is approved, you should request a letter from the Board stating that you are qualified to take that state's written licensing examination for Physical Therapists. This letter will be required in order to file the first part of your immigration application. Some states will allow you to designate a representative, such as your immigration attorney or your U.S. employer, who can receive the letter on your behalf.

Once you have the "visa letter" from the state licensing board, you can start the immigration process.

Here is a list of the documents we will need from the Physical Therapist to process the case:

  • Copies of academic degrees and transcripts
  • Copy of Physical Therapist license from home country
  • Visa Letter
  • Resume of Physical Therapist Candidate

We will also need the following from the employer:

  1. Information on the health care facility
  2. Information about the job being offered
  3. A job posting notice to be placed at the employer's premises
  4. Paperwork to be signed by a company official
  5. Copies of federal tax returns (or a statement from the company's financial officer for larger employers)

By the time of your Visa Interview, you will also need to have the following:

  1. Health Care Worker Certificate (from FCCPT or CGFNS)
  2. Police Certificates from your Home Country
  3. Police Certificates from every other country where you have lived for a period of 6 months or longer after the age of 16
  4. Birth Certificate
  5. Marriage Certificate
  6. Letter of employment
  7. Medical Clearance
  8. Pictures

The process begins when the U.S. employer files the I-140 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once this petition is approved (approximately 90-120 days after filing), the approved visa petition is then forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth , New Hampshire . The NVC forwards a packet to the physical therapist containing forms to be completed by the applicant and family members and a list of documents, which must be presented at the Visa Interview.

The applicant should gather the Health Care Worker Certificate, Police Clearances, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and any other items requested in the packet and send them to U.S. Consulate or the NVC, as instructed. The applicant attends the scheduled interview with all of the requested documents. If the application is approved, the Consulate issues an Immigrant visa stamp that is valid for 6 months, and gives the applicant a sealed envelope.

You must enter the U.S before the Immigrant visa expires in order to complete the final processing. When you arrive at the U.S. port of entry, you will be referred to secondary inspection. You will present the sealed envelope to the immigration officer and be fingerprinted. You will then be issued an I-551 form and obtain a visa stamp that is valid for one year. At that point, you are a Lawful Permanent Resident; the visa stamp is a temporary green card that can be used for work or travel.

You can then obtain a social security number and complete the application procedure to apply for the state licensing examination. Most states require that you notify the board in writing of your current residential address in the U.S. The board will then mail you the rest of the materials needed to complete your application. Within 4 to 6 months after entry into the U.S. , you will receive your actual green card.

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{slider=Physical Therapist already in US}

Immigration for Foreign-Born Physical Therapists Already in the United States

If you are already in the United States , you may be eligible to obtain your green card through employment. There are several things that must be done before you can obtain your green card. You must have a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you. Most states require that you obtain an evaluation from a specific credentialing agency to determine whether the degree you received is substantially equivalent to an entry-level degree in physical therapy in the U.S. Each state has its own requirements so be sure to check with the state licensing board to determine where you can obtain your evaluation. You will also want to take the English language proficiency exam early in the process because you will need these scores in order to obtain your health care worker certificate.

At the same time, you should begin the process of obtaining your health care worker certificate because this is a lengthy process. You have two options for obtaining your certificate: FCCPT or CGFNS. You should contact these organizations to obtain more information about the requirements for the certificate. The health care worker certificate verifies compliance with an educational credentials review, English language proficiency requirements and verification of ability to practice in the country of education.

After you have started the process for your health care worker certificate and have obtained your evaluation specific to the state you are to be licensed in, you should request an application from the Board of Physical Therapy Examiner for your state (unless you are already licensed). The Board will provide you with instructions about what documents you need to include with your application. Once your application to take the licensing exam is approved, you should request a letter from the Board stating that you are qualified to take that state's written licensing examination for Physical Therapists. This letter will be required in order to file your immigration application. Some states will allow you to designate a representative, such as your immigration attorney or your U.S. employer, who can receive the letter on your behalf. You will then need to complete the steps necessary to obtain your license while we move forward with your immigration paperwork.

Once you have the "visa letter" from the state licensing board (not necessary if you are already licensed in the state of intended employment), you can start the immigration process. Physical Therapists are eligible for what is called Schedule A Labor Certification. This basically means that you don't have to file a labor certification at all (note, the labor certification is also known as PERM ). Therefore, you can start at what normally would be the second step of the green card process, the I-140 petition.

Here is a list of the documents we will need from the Physical Therapist to process the case:

  1. Copies of academic degrees and transcripts
  2. Copy of license from home country
  3. Visa Letter or license from state of intended employment
  4. Resume of Physical Therapist Candidate

We will also need the following from the employer:

  1. Information on the health care facility
  2. Information about the job being offered
  3. A job posting notice to be placed at the employer's premises
  4. Paperwork to be signed by a company official
  5. Copies of federal tax returns (or a statement from the company's financial officer for larger employers)

If Employment-based visa numbers are available at the time we file your case, we will include an application for Employment Authorization. This can be obtained in as little as two months depending on where your application is being processed. This will allow you to begin working as a Physical Therapist, assuming that you have obtained your state license by this time.

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