Exclusively Practicing
Immigration and Nationality Law
San Jose, Silicon Valley

Immigration Services / Nurse and Physical Therapist (Schedule A Occupation) Immigration

Registered Nurse Immigration

Nursing has been identified as a shortage occupation in the United States and therefore nurses are exempt from the requirement of obtaining approval by the U.S. Department of Labor of a labor certification application.  This significantly reduces the time that it takes nurses to negotiate U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) processing of permanent residence petitions.  Please note that this category only consists of registered nurse. A licensed practical nurse is not considered a Professional Nurse under this category.

The Nurse must possess:

    1. A full unrestricted permanent license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment. A temporary license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment is not sufficient.
    1. A CGFNS certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (The alien must have received the CGFNS certificate. Proof that the alien has passed the CGFNS nursing skills examination is not sufficient, as the nursing skills examination alone does not verify that the alien has a level of proficiency in the English language to perform the duties of a registered nurse in the United States.)


Evidence that the foreign national nurse has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Visa Screen Requirement

A Visa Screen Certificate must be presented before the registered nurse’s green card application is approved. The Visa Screen Certificate requirement was imposed by §343, a last-minute amendment to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). It added “uncertified health-care workers” to the list of persons who are inadmissible to the U.S. See §212(a)(5)(C), INA.

A Visa Screen Certificate is issued only after the RN has demonstrated that:
1) education, license and training in the foreign national’s country are equivalent to education, licensure and training in the U.S., and,
2) the foreign national’s level of competence in oral and written English are appropriate to practice professional nursing in the U.S.

In addition, unless the nurse was educated in an English-speaking country (U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom or Canada - all provinces except Quebec), she must achieve a certain score on tests in written and spoken English administered by TOEFL (Test Of English As A Foreign Language) or MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) in order to qualify for a VisaScreen certificate.

The USCIS regulations provide that the only organization authorized to issue VisaScreen certificates to RNs is the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).





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Law Office of Ning Gan
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