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A short Summary of the Foreign Educated Nurses Evaluation and Immigration Process for Nurses wanting to work in the USA


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DISCLAIMER: 

The specialist firm nursesnet.org uses, for routine immigration support is not a law firm and is not associated with nursesnet.org. After extensive search, we have determined that they are the best and most reliable service offered on the market. Although, their   owners and staff are non-attorney's, they specialize in administrative document processing for certain routine employment and family based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. They do not give legal advice and do not attempt to represent foreign nationals, their employers or family members in any way.

The contents of this site relating to immigration into the USA are provided for information only,  Information has been greatly condensed from various sources readily available to the general public and should under no circumstances be conceived as legal advice or legal direction.

copyright ©2005 nursesnet.org

Summary

Until an easier way is "invented", the best way for a foreign nurse to come to the U.S. for employment, is by locating a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor the nurse's Green Card (immigrant visa). Nurses do not qualify for H1 type visa's (temporary work and resident visas in the USA).

Locating an employer in another country, or half way around the world, is not an easy task.  Many companies just do not want the bother or responsibility of the immigration "hassle".  But, as the shortage of Registered Nurses becomes more apparent across the U.S., more healthcare employers and recruiting agencies are taking a closer look at foreign talent! The number of foreign nurses admitted to the USA varies from year to year. It does not reflect the momentary need in hospitals and the healthcare services, but rather prevailing political demands and requirements.

What can you do to prepare yourself for the U.S. employment experience?
(some suggestions)

Most employers or recruiting agencies will first ask you, "Have you passed the CGFNS exam?"  So it will be in your best interest if you can answer "YES" at that time!  Most foreign nurses already know about CGFNS (The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools), but if you do not, go to their website at www.cgfns.org and read it thoroughly.  In most cases, it will be impossible for you to enter the U.S. for employment without first having taken the CGFNS exam. If your mothertongue is not English or your education has not been in either the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand, you will be required to demonstrate your English proficiency by either having passed the British IELTS or the American TOEFL Exams

This is a summary of the steps you have to go through in order to be able to work in a nursing position in the USA

STEP 1
We recommend, even before you try to find employment, that you contact
CGFNS about their Certification Program Register, have your credentials evaluated and then, when they accept your credentials, sit for the exam as soon as possible. These are given three to four times a year in various centers around the world.

STEP 2 
While you're waiting for the CGFNS exam results, update your resume! 
We have programs to show you the proper way to create a resume (click here).  This is a very important step as this resume will represent you to the prospective employer and you want to look GOOD!

STEP 3
Once you have passed the CGFNS certification and the exam, you may then set out to locate an employer, staffing company, or healthcare recruiter.  The best resource is, of course, the Internet.  We will help you locate jobs and post your resume with specialist healthcare and nursing recruiters. 

STEP 4
When you make contact with an employer who shows interest, make sure they immediately know that you will need to be sponsored for a Green Card and receive your immigrant visa before you can arrive in the U.S.  Most employers will know this already, if they are willing to interview foreign nurses, but it would not hurt to let them know that you are aware of this and you've already done your research on the process.  If they seem to hesitate about the immigration process, please feel free to refer them to our website, or let us know and we will contact them by providing them with reassuring information on the Green Card process.

When Step 4 results in an employment agreement between you and a U.S. employer you can tell them that you've found a company who will process your immigrant visa paperwork, or they may have someone they already use.  If they want you to be responsible for the process, send us an email and our specialist sub contractor will take you and the employer through the process, hand-in-hand.  At this point your I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition will begin. 

Once your immigrant visa process is underway, it is time to proceed with your VisaScreen™ Certificate.

STEP 5
U.S. immigration law now requires that healthcare professionals, other than physicians, complete a screening program in order to qualify for certain occupational visas. VisaScreen™, a program offered by International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP - in association with CGFNS), enables healthcare professionals to meet this requirement by verifying and evaluating their credentials to ensure compliance with the government's minimum eligibility standards.

The waiting period required for receipt of the VisaScreen™ certificate varies, but we suggest proceeding with the application as soon as your I-140 Petition for Immigrant Workers has been filed with INS.  You'll need to present the certificate when you go for the final visa interview at the consulate, so having it in plenty of time before your interview will help relieve some of the stress you'll naturally feel at that point!

STEP 6
If your new employer hasn't already discussed it with you by this time, talk to them about which state or states they anticipate that you may be working in.  Because now, you need to apply for the state license, which also includes registering to take the
NCLEX exam.

After you know which state you may be working in, write to the state nursing board and request an application to sit for NCLEX. You can find the list of  State nursing boards with their addresses hereBe sure to inform them that you are a graduate of a foreign nursing program and have passed the CGFNS exam.  

Each board operates differently, and some will issue temporary (interim) licenses for you to practice, once you enter the U.S., until you can sit for the NCLEX.  In most cases, your new employer will likely have a licensing coordinator that will be assisting you in the licensing step, or at least someone who can advise you on the process with the various states.

STEP 7
The hardest step of all...now you wait!  Once the I-140 has been submitted to INS, approval can take 3 - 12 months or longer, depending on the location of the employer and/or worksite (each of the four INS service centers have jurisdiction over certain states...some service centers process faster and more efficiently than others). 

STEP 8
If your Priority Date is current, several weeks after the I-140 has been approved, you'll receive forms and instructions from "the Visa Processing Center" in New Hampshire, for the final step of consulate processing.  If our subcontractor assists in your Green Card process, they will assist in the completion of these final forms also.  Once the forms have been submitted to the consulate, you'll receive instructions for obtaining medical exams and fingerprinting.  Remember, waiting periods for all these steps can vary greatly from consulate to consulate.

STEP 9
Now, you are waiting for the notice of your interview date!  If our subcontractor's are helping you processing your Green Card, they will give you a review on how the interview is usually conducted, what questions to expect, what papers/documents to take with you, etc.

STEP 10
The interview at the U.S. consulate.

STEP 11
Your arrival in the U.S.!  Congratulations!

You should note
These steps are
very simplified, just to show you the general flow of the process.  If you have questions on a particular step, please do not hesitate to
contact us by email: Ref.: Nurse Employment in the USA


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