Applying for Nurse USA immigrant Visa

3 Jul

International Nurse  need immigrant or nonimmigrant work visas – in order to able to enter USA to work as a nurse. The first thing to keep in mind when applying for an immigrant or nonimmigrant work visa for working in the United States (or for that matter, any other country) is that getting a visa is a privilege and not a right. Since immigration is a process often involving many surprises it is helpful to keep a positive attitude and to understand clearly each and every step of the procedure. The USA has two classifications of visas for all foreign working professionals, and the same applies to nurses: immigrant or nonimmigrant work visas.

Immigrant Visa

An immigrant visa or the “Green Card” allows the nursing professional to live and work in the United States permanently. The holder of this visa is a Lawful Permanent Resident of the US.

If a nurse is living in a foreign location, there is a five-step procedure to follow to obtain permanent residence:

  1. Getting the required professional/personal credentials
    This includes:

    1. Required nursing education and license to practice in the home country
    2. US credentials such as license to practice in the state where the nurse intends to get employment, CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools)/NCLEX-RN certificate, English language tests, completing the Visa screening certification process, and any other relevant certifications.
  2. Finding employment
    A foreign professional nurse can get an employment based immigrant visa for permanent residence only through a prospective US employer/sponsor. US immigration laws mainly consider the benefits to the US employer/sponsor as a result of such employment rather than the benefits to the employee. The US employer/sponsor’s job offer qualifies the foreign professional nurse for getting a green card.
  3. Petition for immigrant visa/permanent residence by the US employer/sponsor The US employer/sponsor begins the process by petitioning for permanent residence with the appropriate regional office of the USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Service). The processing of the petition may take four to eight months.While normally employment based immigration cases require labor certification from the USCIS (Labor certifications are given on the basis that no US citizen or permanent residents are available to take the job) the US Department of Labor has pre-cleared registered nurses from such certification by putting them on a “Schedule A” being a list of occupations in high demand, where no labor certification is required. This is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.
  4. Application by the Nurse When the USCIS approves the petition filed by the US employer/sponsor, the foreign professional nurse will be required to attend an immigrant visa interview. The interview will be held in the Consulate office of his/her home country. Usually, it takes five to eight months between the approval by USCIS and the scheduling of the visa interview. The following documents will be required for the interview:
    1. Personal documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates
    2. Police clearance certificates from all countries where the applicant has lived for over six months since the applicant’s 18th birthday.
    3. Letter of Employment (current or updated)
    4. Medical Certificates related to relevant examinations
    5. VisaScreen clearance.
      Since it may take a long time, the nurse should apply for VisaScreen clearance well in advance to present it at the time of the interview.
  5. Admittance to the US as a permanent residence This is the final clearance required to become a permanent resident of the United States. The foreign professional nurse should establish his/her intention of working in US with the sponsor/employer and also prove that there are no disqualifying reasons, such as a criminal record, for gaining admittance to the US as a permanent residence. This clearance process is conducted by the Immigration Officer at the port of entry.If the foreign professional nurse is physically resident in the US at the time of petitioning for permanent residence, there is a slight difference in procedure. The first three steps remain the same. The difference, and a very good one, is that when the US employer petitions for permanent residence, the foreign nurse can simultaneously apply for permanent residence from within the country. The USCIS can issue an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) before the approval of the petition filed by the US employer for permanent residence, and this allows the foreign nurse to start work immediately. If the petition is rejected, the EAD will also be terminated.



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