Could an Internationally-educated, licensed RN qualify for a work visa? If applying for an immigrant visa, how long would be the wait? Are the procedures the same or different for both visas?
PRIMER FOR FOREIGN NURSES INTENDING TO PRACTICE IN THE U.S.
Nurses educated outside of the United States must complete the following steps to practice their profession whether on a temporary work (H-1B) or permanent resident visa (EB3).
1. Apply for a license with a state board of nursing. All state boards require the NCLEX® examination. Each state will have specific requirements to determine comparability of those educated outside of the United States. Each state board may require certain services to determine if you will be able to practice in the United States. All required services can be provided by CGFNS International prior to authorizing nurses educated outside of the United States to take the NCLEX® exam.
2. Register with Pearson VUE to schedule your NCLEX location and date. Registration costs $200, plus additional fees if you are taking the NCLEX outside of the U.S. The NCSBN website lists the countries and non-member board territories that currently administer the NCLEX examinations: Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Taiwan.”
3. CGFNS Qualifying Exam. In many countries where the NCLEX is not currently offered locally, visa requirements for first level (RN) nurses may be fulfilled by an alternate examination, the CGFNS Qualifying Exam. Although this exam is a predictor for passage of the NCLEX-RN and satisfies the immigration requirement, it is not accepted for licensure purposes. Applicants who successfully complete the CGFNS Qualifying Exam will still be required to successfully complete the NCLEX-RN in jurisdictions that require it. – (NCSBN Resource Manual on the Licensure of Internationally Educated Nurses, p 8.) CGFNS explains as well that “the exam is requiredfor CGFNS’s Certification Program and satisfies the nursing exam component for the VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment. “
4. Have your credentials assessed. Credential evaluation means that specific institutions would have to determine that your nursing school transcripts and education history from your home country meets the NCSBN requirements and ensure you’re qualified to even take the NCLEX. The NCSBN has accredited and accepts credential evaluation from several entities, although CGFNS is the most popular and well-known.
5. Take – and pass the NCLEX exam in your country of residence or practice – if available. NCLEX exam is being administered and given in the Philippines. Arrive for the appointment with sufficient time before start and bring the required or accepted identification documents.
Social Security Numbers (SSN) NCSBN explains this legislative requirement. “Some jurisdictions have legislative language in place requiring an SSN before a license can be issued. Because a visa, and therefore an SSN, cannot be issued without a nurse license, this presents an impossible situation for IENs desiring licensure in these jurisdictions. The following solutions have been utilized by various boards:
The following states or jurisdictions will only accept a U.S. SSN on an application for nurse
6. Receive notice from BON about results of your NCLEX exam up to six (6) to eight (8) weeks from taking it.
. Alternatives to CGFNS Credential Evaluation Services:
Foreign-educated RNs intending to work or migrate (permanently reside) in the U.S. are required to obtain the VisaScreen Certificate issued by the International Commission on Healthcare Professionals (ICHP) a division of the CGFNS.
The VisaScreen is a requirement under Section 343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (the IIRIRA) of 1996 requires specific health care professionals, born outside of the United States, to successfully complete a screening program before they can receive either a permanent or temporary occupational visa, including Trade NAFTA status.
This screening includes: (a) an assessment of an applicant’s education to ensure that it is comparable to that of a U.S. graduate in the same profession; (b) a verification that all professional health care licenses that an applicant ever held are valid and without restrictions (c) an English language proficiency examination (d) for registered nurses, a verification of passing either the CGFNS Qualifying Exam®, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®) or its predecessor, the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE)
This requirement often does not apply if you attended nursing school in Barbados, Canada (except Quebec, the only schools approved for exemption are: McGill University, Dawson College, Vanier College, John Abbott College, and Heritage College), Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom or United States, and if your nursing school and textbooks were taught in English.
English language requirements for the Certification Program
To complete the CGFNS Certification Program, applicants must submit scores from one of four accepted English language proficiency examinations:
1. TOEFL® iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-based Test)
A minimum total score of 83 is required. Please reference code number 9988 on your Certification Program application form to ensure your results will be sent electronically to CGFNS
2. TOEFL® PBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language, Paper-based Test)
A minimum total test score of 540 is required on the paper-based version and a minimum total test score of 207 is required on the computer-based version. Please reference code number 9988 on your Certification Program application form to ensure your results will be sent electronically to CGFNS
3. TOEIC® (Test of English for International Communication)
A minimum total test score of 725 is required. Please provide your Test Report Form (TRF) number on your Certification Program application form and request IELTS to have your exam scores made electronically available to CGFNS
4. IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
A minimum total test score of 6.5 is required (Academic Module only). Please provide your Test Report Form (TRF) number on your Certification Program application form and request IELTS to have your exam scores made electronically available to CGFNS.
Take note of the following when considering the English language requirements for the Certification Program:
Foreign-educate d RNs – including Filipino Nurses – who have successfully taken the NCLEX and obtained the VisaScreen Certificate are documentarily eligible for sponsorship either on a work visa (H-1B) or permanent resident visa (EB3).
Registered Nurses (RNs) and Physical Therapists (PTs) remain as occupations listed in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as Schedule A Occupations. Sponsoring employers, therefore, need not obtain a Permanent Labor Certification from DOL.
Schedule A is comprised of certain occupations for which DOL has determined there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available. In addition, Schedule A establishes that the employment of aliens in such occupations will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.
The occupations listed under Schedule A include:
An employer must apply for a labor certification for a Schedule A occupation by filing an ETA Form 9089, in duplicate, with the appropriate USCIS Service Center, and not with DOL.
.If you have additional concerns or need assistance, please call or text the Immigrant Visa Center at 6t3-917-529-8472