In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses immigration options for foreign nurses.
At the moment it is quite difficult for foreign nurses to immigrate to the United States because of how strict immigration officials are being in adjudicating these petitions.
While there are rigorous requirements that must be proven to immigrate to the United States, the demand for nurses in the United States continues to grow. Therefore, there is a still a need for foreign nurses to come and work in the United States.
The good news is that the immigration backlog for nurses is decreasing. The time that a nurse must wait to work in the United States depends on the nurse’s country of nationality.
So, how can a nurse get a visa to come to the United States?
There are generally two ways that a foreign nurse can come and work in the United States.
Green Card: A nurse may come to work in the United States if their employer files a petition on their behalf specifically on Form I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. Once the I-140 is approved, the nurse may apply for an immigrant visa under the EB-3 category for nurses once the I-140 priority date becomes current on the visa bulletin. This process culminates in an interview at the U.S. Consulate for the immigrant visa.
H-1B: A foreign nurse who has a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree, plus five years working experience, and is seeking to work in a specialty occupation (for example as managers or nurse practitioners) may apply for the H-1B work visa.
TN Visa: A foreign nurse from Canada or Mexico may apply for a TN visa.
Most nurses come to the United States by being petitioned for a green card directly by their employer.
What is required for this option?
- The foreign nurse must have a visa screen which is an evaluation of educational equivalency by the CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools)
- The foreign nurse must establish English proficiency by passing either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) www.toefl.com or International English Language Testing System (IELTS, academic version) www.ielts.org.
- The foreign nurse must also pass the state licensing exam and the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination)
- The foreign nurse must have a job offer and
- The employer must be willing to sponsor the foreign nurse for permanent residency
- The employer must be willing to pay the prevailing wage of the location where the foreign nurse will be working
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