U.S. Law Center

Hiring a foreign nurse in the United States

A California resident who wants to hire a foreign registered nurse to work in the U.S. might be able to sponsor them for permanent residence. In most cases, this process moves more quickly when the nurse already resides in the U.S. It is possible to launch the immigration process for a nurse from abroad as well, but it can be completed within six months for people already in the country. Nurses in the U.S. can take the national RN licensing exam in any state, where it is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

After passing the examination, the potential employer must submit an immigrant visa petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The nurse must show a successful exam or a full and unrestricted registered nursing license in their state of potential employment. The nurse can then also apply, with their family members, for an adjustment of status, travel permits or work permits. To make the green card application, a nurse in the U.S. does not need to have a VisaScreen certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. However, the certificate must be issued in order for the application to be approved.

Furthermore, this certificate is necessary for nurses applying to come to the U.S. from abroad. They must also obtain a license to practice nursing in their state or confirmation of passing the national licensing examination without the ability to obtain a license due to a lack of a social security number, and provide an array of supporting documents for their application.

Nursing is a Schedule A occupation for the Department of Labor, meaning that there are shortages of qualified workers in the U.S. An immigration law attorney could help obtain the proper visa for a foreign-born registered nurse.

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