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ARE YOU AN INTERNATIONAL NURSE or a LPN, Physical and Occupational Therapist, Dentist, Pharmacist...?

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While there is a well-known shortage of registered nurses and many other areas of the health industry, current U.S. Immigration laws can make it difficult for foreign-educated nurses to obtain jobs. It is important for those interested in pursuing this avenue to obtain the proper visas and paperwork from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department. 

8-Steps To Work In The U.S. As A Nurse or Health Staff in general

There are eight key steps foreign-educated health professional will need to take in order to obtain a position in the USA.  

  1. Resume is where and how all starts. We must have your resume for evaluation. Meet the educational requirements.
    UPON ACCEPTANCE FOLLOW OTHER STEPS:
  2. Take and pass an English language proficiency when requested (IELTS, TOEFL)
  3. Obtain credential evaluation  
  4. Pass your National Council Licensing Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX – RN) if a NURSE. Other Licensing depending on qualification. LPN (Licensed Practioner Nurse) Practice NCLEX PN
  5. Get in touch with Jobs & Visas USA to present you to employers (sponsors) 
  6. Apply and obtain an RN immigrant visa/green card (Nurses) sponsorship expenses with USCIS, depends on each employer
  7. Nurses - RN visa interview and medical examination (sponsor responsibility). Other health professional areas depend on each employer for financial responsibility with USCIS fees;
  8. Accept position based on hiring.

Education 

First and foremost, international educated nurses, other health professionals must meet basic education requirements. These include: 

  • Graduation from an accredited Registered Nursing program and other program for other health categories;
  • Licensing as a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensing of your profession;
  • Experience practicing as an RN for at least two years, the same with all other health professions, ideal three to five years

Nurses who went to nursing school in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (except Quebec), or Ireland are exempt as are those whose spoken language in nursing school was English and/or the nursing school textbooks were written in English.

Pass The NCLEX Examination (Nurses only)

After ensuring you meet the education and language requirements it’s time to apply for the NCLEX in the state of intended employment. Registration with Pearson Vue is required and costs $200 plus additional foreign fees.

According to the web page, NCLEX examinations are currently administered in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan. 

Credentials Evaluation And Reports

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is a company that is employed by State Boards of Nursing to ensure that applicants meet the basic requirements and are fit to take the NCLEX.

Established in 1977 after a thorough investigation of the immigration of foreign-born and educated registered nurses, the U.S. Department of State and Labor developed the Commission with a dual purpose: to ensure safe patient care to Americans and to help prevent the exploitation of graduates from foreign nursing schools who are employed in the United States to practice.

This company specifically will go through all nursing school transcripts and education history from your home country. While this company is the most popular and most well known - it is expensive and each state requires different levels of credentialing. 

There are three main credentialing reports for RN's: 

  1. Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report
  2. CGFNS Certification Program
  3. Visa Credentials Assessment

Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report

This report is less involved and cheaper than the Certificate Program or Visa Screen. It provides the basic information for the State Board of Nursing and only a handful of states accept this. 

Below are the requirements you’ll need :

  • English Requirement
  • Secondary School Documents
  • Licensure Documents from your Home Country
  • Nursing Education Documents from your Home Country
  • $350 Fee

CGFNS Certification Program

This evaluation is the same as above but requires the applicant to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam.

Here are some specifics:

  • Everything in a Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report
  • CGFNS Qualifying Exam 
  • $445 Fee

The CGFNS Qualifying Exam helps states determine if foreign-educated nurses are well suited to care for patients in America. According to the CGFNS web page, individuals must possess a wide variety of nursing knowledge.

Applicants are required to have a minimum number of classroom and clinical hours in required fields such as pediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, neonatal nursing, and adult medical/surgical nursing. 

The examination is held three times a year at over 40 testing centers across the globe. Individuals may travel to other countries, if needed, in order to take the exam. 

VisaScreen: Visa Credentials Assessment

The same requirements as the CGFNS Certification Program but will qualify the individual for a Work Visa after successful completion of the NCLEX. 

You’ll also need to pay a $540 fee.

Other credentialing services could potentially be cheaper and still accepted by the State Boards of Nursing. It is important to check with the State Board before using a different credential service. Alternatives to CGFNS include:

  • International Education Research Foundation 
  • Educational Records Evaluation Service

Obtain Employment Visa “Work Visa”

The next step is to obtain an employment visa. There are several options for these nurses, but nurses must have sponsorship from a staffing agency. It is easier for foreign nurses to work with an independent staffing recruiter and agency then directly with a hospital.

Agencies are well versed in helping nurses work in the U.S. and have systems in place in order to ensure all information and paperwork is completed accurately. 

Mexican And Canadian Nurses - TN Visa

Mexican and Canadian nurses may work in the United States with a special TN visa if the individual has an offer of employment, a license to practice in their home country, and pass the NCLEX and state licensure requirements. 

H-1B Temporary Work Visa

Nurses who hold a four-year degree and fulfill a specialized nursing role may qualify for an H-1B temporary work visa and then apply for a green card once stateside. These specialized roles include critical care nurses, emergency room nurses, and/or cardiology nurses.

It is important to note that there a very limited number of H-1C visas available to nurses who want to work in very specific hospitals in undeserved communities. 

Permanent Work Visa

The majority of foreign-trained nurses will need to obtain a permanent work visa, otherwise known as a green card. This application needs to be completed prior to travel to the United States and the visa must be obtained before immigrating legally. The EB-3 Professional Green Card process maybe the best one.

Nurses NOT Eligible To Work In The United States

Unfortunately, not all foreign-educated nurses are eligible to work in the United States. These include but are not limited to:

  • Nurses with less than two years experience
  • Nurses lacking a four-year nursing degree
  • Individuals who have committed a crime
  • Nurses who lack sponsorship from a reputable nursing agency

Recruitment Process Nurses/ OT/PT

#1

Apply Online
Complete our online application form.

#2

Interview
Tell us about your American Dream and OT/PT/nursing experience.

#3

Acceptance
Sign your commitment with us in order to start your preparation for presentation to associate, partners, affiliates employment agreement

#4

 
Document Collection
Submit all required documents to get ready for program

#5

U.S. Licensure & NCLEX-RN® Review
Pass the NCLEX-RN the first time with Employer-recruiter in case of Nurse. OT/PT License.

#6

Green Card Processing
Arrive in the United States in as little as 8 to 12 months!

#7

Arrive in the U.S.A.
Continue your Clinical Preparation Program in Orlando, Florida.

#8

Begin Work
Travel to the location of your new home and new job!

#9

 
American Dream
Share your story with others as you live your dream!

More Information

Due to ever-changing immigration laws it is important for potential nurse immigrants to speak directly to staffing agencies or immigration lawyers to ensure all laws are followed. Most foreign-educated nurses work closely for several years prior to working in the United States as a registered nurse.

Those seeking additional information regarding specific immigration laws should search the U.S. Department of Homeland Services and U.S. Department of Labor.

Next Up: Top 10 Nursing Specialties - Voted By Nurses!