Immigration - DOC

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To work as a nurse in the United States, you must obtain a visa issued by the United
States Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS).

Here is an overview of the most common work visas for nurses from India:

H-1B Visas

H-1B visas are available for professional workers with at least a bachelor's degree
who seek entry into the United States to work in a “specialty occupation.”

As a nurse, you may obtain an H-1B visa if you will work in a supervisory or highly
specialized position and if the facility can demonstrate that it requires all the nurses
it employs in that position to possess a bachelor’s degree.

H-1B visas can be issued in 2-4 weeks using the premium processing service.
They are valid for an initial period of three years and may be renewed for another
three years.

H-1B Visas are not appropriate for most nursing positions in the U.S.

Employment Based Third Preference Immigrant Visas (Green Cards)

In order to qualify for a Green Card, you must be in possession of:

    1. A diploma from a nursing school in your home country

    2. A current nursing license from your home country

    3. A full and unrestricted license to practice professional nursing
       in your state of intended employment or certification that you
       have passed the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing
       Schools (CGFNS) examination
The “Green Card” application normally involves the following steps:
    1. Labor Certification by Employer

    2. Visa Petition by Employer

    3. Visa Application by Nurse
The Department of Labor has determined that the profession of nursing is experiencing
a chronic shortage of workers. Therefore, nurses who have passed the Commission on
Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Examination or who possess an
unrestricted license to practice nursing in the state in which they intend to work are
eligible to seek Schedule A Labor Certification.
The effect of Schedule A classification is that the position is “pre-certified” and no
application needs to be filed with the Department of Labor. If you are in the U.S. on
proper legal status, the visa petition and visa application can be filed directly with the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). If you are abroad, you can apply for
the Green Card once the visa petition has been approved by CIS.

The total amount of time it will take you to get a Green Card will be 8-12 months if you have passed the CGFNS exam or
12-18 months if you still need to take the CGFNS exam.
What are your minimum requirements?
....You must have a Diploma or B.Sc. degree in nursing, a current nursing license your home country, 1 year of work experience and good English speaking skills.

4. How long will it take me to come to the United States on a Green Card?
....If you have passed the CGFNS & IELTS exam, it will take 8-12 months.
....If you have not taken the CGFNS or IELTS exam, it will take 12-18 months.

Can my spouse and children come to the U.S. with me?
.... Yes. They will need to complete immigration forms and attend the visa interview
.... at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

8. What is the CGFNS?
....The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) was
.... established to ensure that nurses educated outside the United States are eligible
.... and qualified to meet licensure and practice requirements in the U.S. The CGFNS
.... certificate is earned after successful completion of the following components:
................• Passing score on the CGFNS Exam
................• Passing score on the TOEFL or IELTS Exam
................• A review of credentials, education and licensure

9. What is the NCLEX-RN Exam?
....The National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) is the U.S. registered nurse
....licensing exam. You must take this exam in the United States and pass it in order work as a nurse in America.

10.What is Credentials Evaluations Service?
.... The Credentials Evaluation Service (CES), developed by CGFNS, evaluates
.... education and licensure earned outside the United States.

11. What is the TOEFL Exam?
....The Test of English as A Foreign Language (TOEFL) evaluates the English
.... proficiency of people whose native language is not English. The test has
.... four sections: Test of Written English (TWE), listening, structure, and reading.

12. What is the TSE Exam?
.... The Test of Spoken English (TSE) measures the ability to communicate orally
.... in English. The test requires an oral response to printed and recorded information
.....on tape under timed conditions. This test is administered separately from the
.... TOEFL exam.

13. What is the IELTS Exam?
.... IELTS tests the complete range of English language skills which will commonly
.... be encountered by students when studying or training in the medium of English.
.... All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules. There is an option
.... of either Academic or General Training Reading and Writing Modules. Nurses
.... planning to come to the U.S. on a Green Card need to take the Academic Reading
.... and Writing Modules. The IELTS exam can be taken in place of the TOEFL, TWE
.... & TSE exams.

14. What is the Visa Screen Certificate?
.... The Visa Screen Certificate is used to certify that an individual’s home country
.... education is equivalent to a Nursing education in the United States and that the
.... candidate's written and spoken English skills are at an acceptable level. A Visa
.... Screen Certificate is presented to a consular office, or in the case of adjustment
.... of status, to the Attorney General as part of the visa application.