If you'd rather not take a chance on taking part in the H-1B work visa lottery to practice in the United States as a Registered Nurse, consider applying for permanent residency instead.
If you are a Registered Nurse in your country, you will be glad to note that your profession is still classified by the US Department of Labor as a Schedule A shortage occupation. This certainly makes it easier for you to immigrate to the United States under the third preference employment-based category (EB-3) as compared to individuals in other occupations.
For you to have a successful immigrant visa petition and visa application at the consular post, you must meet certain requirements such as:
You need Health Care Worker Certification to work in the US.
The golden rule for ALL visa applications is this: you must be able to demonstrate your admissibility for the visa category you are applying to.
And the same extends to everyone, most especially Registered Nurses immigrating to the United States.
Section 343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 or IIRIRA unequivocally states that foreign educated health care workers (except physicians) must present certification verifying that you are eligible and have met the minimum requirements to practice in the United States.
As a foreign or internationally educated nurse, the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools or CGFNS will screen your credentials to include:
CGFNS Certification Program or NCLEX-RN licensure?
A strict requirement that all foreign-educated nurses must comply with is the VisaScreen® Certificate issued by the International Commission for Health Care Professionals (ICHP) of CGFNS.
How do you get the VisaScreen® Certificate? You have two options:
The fee of the CGFNS Certification Program or CP is slightly higher than the CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service or CES but there are distinct benefits to taking the certification program:
If you have chosen the EB-3 pathway, you will be submitting your VisaScreen® Certificate during your consular interview if you are living outside the United States at the time of visa issuance.
Concerns of Foreign Educated Nurses Applying for Immigration
Foreign educated nurses face several major concerns when they apply for immigration:
There are workarounds of course for the first two problems but these mean additional expenses for your employer. And if you feel that you cannot wait out your immigrant visa petition, then you may want to consider going the US work visa route instead.